Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was ranked second on Forbes magazine's annual list of 70 most powerful people of the world. Putin has thus returned to the top three of the leaders after he took the fourth place on the list last year. Putin's positions became stronger after he announced an intention to run for president. In 2009, Putin was third on the list, Pravda.Ru reports.
The rating of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is a lot lower. In 2010, Medvedev was ranked 12th, whereas this year he slipped to the 59th place. Specialists explain such a decline with Medvedev's decision to refuse from his participation in the presidential vote. He also publicly acknowledged that Putin was more popular.
The world's most powerful person, according to Forbes, is US President Barack Obama. Obama climbed one step up in comparison with the previous year. Obama remains the head of state with the world's largest and most dynamic economy. The magazine also wrote that Obama was the unofficial leader of the free world, but this is obviously a ridiculous statement to make. Obama's rating improved owing to the destruction of Al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden. However, his death is shrouded in mystery and will probably remain one of the biggest secrets of the 21st century. NATO's operation in Libya and the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi also improved the rating of the US president.
The third place on the list belongs to last year's leader, China's President Hu Jintao. His "decline" is connected with the fact that Hu is supposed to step down as the head of the Communist Party of China in 2012.
The top ten list also includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel (#4), Microsoft's founder Bill Gates (#5), Saudi King Abdullah (#6), Pope Benedict XVI (#7), Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (#8), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (#9, the youngest of the world's most powerful people), and British Prime Minister David Cameron (#10).
Russian entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov was ranked 70th. One of the Google founders, Sergey Brin, who was born in Moscow, takes the 30th position.
This year, several constant participants of the rating are no longer considered influential and powerful individuals. Forbes magazine "disqualified" TV host Oprah Winfrey, former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and former Japanese PM Naoto Kan. The list does not include Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs and Al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden, who was supposedly killed in Pakistan in May.
Last year, Putin's and Medvedev's ratings were very close to each other. Russian experts, who made the list of Russia's 100 leading politicians in November 2010, put Putin on the first place with 9.46 points. Medvedev gained 9.39 points.
This year, the gap between the two leaders has grown. According to the rating of the Agency of Political and Economic Communications, Putin traditionally took the first place with 9.76 points. The sitting president was ranked second with 8.21 points.
Vadim Gorshenin, the head of Pravda.Ru media holding, describes several options of how the situation may develop in Russia in the near future, after Vladimir Putin's presidency