Russian President Vladimir Putin tops this year's "Forbes" list
of the world's most powerful people.
The U.S. business and financial magazine named Putin as the world's most powerful figure among heads of state, financiers, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs.
Putin thus climbs one spot ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama, who ranked first in 2012.
"Right now [Putin] is at the top of his game. He obviously runs Russia, as we are seeing a demonstration again, but he has now made himself master of the Middle East," Steve Forbes, editor in chief of "Forbes" Media, explained in an interview on Sky News TV. "Our president had to go on bended knee to [Putin to] bail him out of Syria. Same thing with our president with the new president of Iran. And here at home, the botched introduction of his signature legislation where he said he didn't know what was going on."
It is the first time Putin has topped the list.
The Kremlin declined to comment on the news. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he did not know what Putin thought of topping the list but said the president "does not fuss about things like that."
The "Forbes" list has been led by Obama all but once since it began in 2009, with then-Chinese leader Hu Jintao in the number-one slot in 2010.
On this year's list, Chinese President Xi Jinping was third. He was followed by Pope Francis -- a newcomer to the list -- and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was listed 23rd, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was 53rd.
The list was put together by "Forbes" after what it says was the careful consideration of hundreds of nominees. It has 72 names -- one for every 100 million people on Earth.
With reporting by Interfax