Thursday, 10 January 2013

Putin tops the list of the world's most powerful dictators

Ian Brummer, president of Eurasia Group, and a blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, recently published a list of the world's most powerful people, which was topped by Vladimir Putin (as there was no number one). Russian commentators have been quick to notice Brummer's ranking:
Russian President Vladimir Putin is second on a list published by US magazine Foreign Policy of the world's most powerful people. The first position is held by 'Nobody,' as “in a G-Zero world, everyone is waiting for someone else to shoulder responsibility for the world's toughest and most dangerous challenges,” the magazine said, citing a survey of about 150 analysts of the political science consultancy Eurasia Group.

The list ranks individuals’ ability to singlehandedly “bring about change that significantly affects the lives and fortunes of large numbers of people”.
Putin’s second-place rank is due to “Russia's personalised system,” and the influence the country wields in regional affairs.
Fortunately, the editor of Foreign Policy Magazine has distanced himself from Brummer's list:
Joshua Keating, editor of Foreign Policy magazine, says in his article appearing on the magazine's website that Bremmer's post, which created a buzz in Russia's media, does not reflect the real position of the publication.
"It wasn't Foreign Policy, but one FP blogger; it's not an annual feature, and the item did not appear in the print magazine," Keating said.  
Brummer did a disservice to himself and the organization he leads  ("the world’s leading global political risk research and consulting firm", according to Eurasia Group's own description), by publishing his dubious ranking. He should instead have placed Putin on top of a list of dictators. 
Fadel Gheit, a senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer in New York, gives a correct description of Putin:
“There is no question in my mind that Putin is a tremendous dictator so he’s in control of Russia,” “Putin has no opposition; has nobody to really supervise what he does. He can do anything he wants so that’s the difference,”

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