Forbes ranked Putin as the world most powerful person for the second consecutive year. This year he is followed by US president Obama was (rank 2), Xi Jinping of China (rank 3), Pope Fancis (rank 4) and Angela Merkel (rank 5).
He is heading Russia as the president or the prime minister since 1999. He has run the country largest by land mass for 15 years. During that time USA has seen three presidents change. American president has to face resistance in his decisions from the congress while the Russian system allows Putin to take big decisions without an opposition.
This year, Putin has displayed his power remarkably in annexing Crimea, starting a proxy war in Ukraine and entering into a $70 billion deal with China for a gas pipeline which is the world's largest construction project.
He indirectly influences Europe by controlling the flow of an essential energy commodity, gas to Europe through its ally Hungary(member of NATO but helping Russia).
Putin has made casual references to Russia's approximately 8,484 nuclear warheads in a move that many analysts speculate as a clear challenge to NATO member states.
The Russian President signed a megadeal with China, estimated to be worth more than $400 billion, that will involve building a massive pipeline that will send natural gas from Russia to China.
Hungary Is Helping Putin Keep His Chokehold on Europe’s Energy. A key NATO ally is cozying up to the Russian dictator and trying to help him build a $70 billion pipeline to extend his reach into the heart of the EU.
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Lists can be seen here http://www.forbes.com/lists/