AP/RIA Novosti, Alexei Drizhinin

Beating out President Barack Obama, Chinese leader Xi Jingping and Pope Francis, in order, Russian President and tiger wrestler Vladimir Putin tops Forbes’ annual list of the most powerful people in the world.

It’s a backhanded compliment. “No one would call Vladimir Putin a good guy,” the magazine declares, which just can’t be true when you consider his poll numbers in Russia. But its own twisted methodology, which prizes “hard power” and cash above influence, forces Forbes into an awkward hero worship of villainous Putin. After all, “as the undisputed, unpredictable and unaccountable head of an energy-rich, nuclear-tipped state, no one would ever call him weak.”

Take that, Obama. You’re merely “the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world.”

There are two women in the top 10: German Chancellor Angela Merkel at No. 5, followed directly by U.S. Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Bill Gates is ranked No. 7, winning a high place on the overall list of 72 because, by Forbes’ reasoning, he’s loaded, can’t be deposed and has multiple jobs.

Our choice for the most powerful person (?) in the world is SpongeBob SquarePants, because children love him, his voice makes grown men shiver with fear and he can’t be killed.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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