Media magnate Rupert Murdoch and family came in at 32 on the list of 72 powerbrokers, while Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart came in at 66, but Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott did not make the cut.
Forbes senior editor Caroline Howard writes: “Power has been called many things. Pretty isn’t one of them. No one would call Vladimir Putin a good guy.
“In 2014, he strongarmed his way into possession of Crimea and waged an ugly proxy war in neighbouring Ukraine, during which an almost certainly Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile downed a civilian jetliner.
“So who’s more powerful: the omnipotent head of corroding but still feisty power or the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world?”
According to the collective wisdom of Forbes editors and advisers, the answer was clear.
The rankings measure power based on four criteria: whether the candidate has power over lots of people; the financial resources controlled by each person; if the candidate is powerful in multiple spheres; and whether the candidates actively use their power.
“Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin scores the highest points in 2014. He is the undisputed and unaccountable head of an energy-rich, nuclear-tipped state,” Howard writes.
While Barack Obama is the commander-in-chief of the undisputed most dominant country in the world, he has been “stymied by Russian expansionism, the West African Ebola outbreak and a bloodthirsty ISIS abroad, racial unrest and the Republican gains in Congress at home”.
THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE
1. VLADIMIR PUTIN — Russia