Forbes magazine named Russian President Vladimir Putin the world's most powerful person for a third year in a row, beating out German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama.
The annual ranking released November 4 comes just weeks after Putin defied western attempts to isolate him through sanctions and opened a new front in the Syrian war by conducting air strikes, then hosted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a bid to sponsor a long-sought settlement of the war.
"Putin continues to prove he's one of the few men in the world powerful enough to do what he wants -- and get away with it," said Forbes.
Forbes' list ranks the world's most powerful political and economic leaders according to their breadth of social impact, financial resources, and spheres of influence.
Merkel moved up to second place after being ranked fifth last year. Obama fell to third place after a number two ranking last year. Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping rounded out the list's top five.