Forbes, on Wednesday, released its fifth annual ranking of “The World’s Most Powerful People,” and it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who topped the chart this year from among 72 power players all over the world.
Putin, who continues to strengthen his hold over Russia and has recently been asserting his diplomatic skills on the international stage -- most notably during the Syrian crisis -- claimed the No. 1 spot and pushed U.S. President Barack Obama to second position. This is the first year that Putin is ranked first while Obama has been at the top of the list every year, except in 2010, when Hu Jintao, China's former political and military leader, claimed the top spot.
“Putin has solidified his control over Russia while Obama’s lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president — latest example: the government shutdown mess,” Caroline Howard of Forbes wrote in a report. “Anyone watching this year’s chess match over Syria and NSA leaks has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamics.”
Obama was followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to round out the top five entries.
The other five among the top ten included Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-chair Bill Gates, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Wal-Mart ((NYSE:WMT) CEO Michael Duke.
While UK Prime Minister David Cameron was pushed out of the top 10 this year to the No. 11 spot, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos moved up the list to No. 15 from being No. 27 on last year's list. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook also jumped up the list to No. 19 from No. 35 last year.
Forbes said, citing The World Bank Group, that 26 people on this year’s list are billionaires, with their combined net worth adding up to $564.1 billion, which is more than Sweden's GDP.
Here are some more interesting facts about the 2013 ranking:
- China and India have four entries each.
- Nine out of the 72 people are women, more than ever before.
- Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 29 (No. 24) and North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, 30 (No. 46) are the youngest people on the list.
According to Forbes, four factors were considered while selecting the 72 most powerful people from the more than 7 billion people on the planet, and they were:
"How many people they have power over; the financial resources they control; if they have influence in more than one sphere; and, how actively they wield their power to change the world.”
For the complete list of the 72 most powerful people of 2013, click here.