The Russian president bested President Obama, who came in at No. 2 on the list for the second year in a row. Chinese leader Xi Jinping ranked third, while Pope Francis came in at No. 4.
“No one would call Vladimir Putin a good guy,” Forbes staffer Caroline Howard wrote. “In 2014 he strong-armed his way into possession of Crimea and waged an ugly proxy war in neighboring Ukraine, during which an almost certainly Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile downed a civilian jetliner.”