The World’s Most Powerful People

No one would call Vladimir Putin, the most powerful man in the world for the second year running, a good guy. In 2014 he strong-armed his way into possession of the 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. But as the undisputed, unpredictable head of an energy-rich, nuclear-tipped state, no one would ever call him weak.

 Our annual ranking of the World’s 72 Most Powerful People (one for every 100 million people on the planet) is based on voting by a panel of FORBES editors, who consider things like financial resources, scope of action and the number of people they impact.

This year there are 12 newcomers, including Narendra Modi, the new Indian prime minister, at No. 15; Alibiba founder—and China’s richest man—Jack Ma (No. 30); and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the bloodthirsty Islamic State (No. 54). The top five positions are unchanged from last year, with Barack Obama remaining in second place ahead of China’s Xi Jinping.

This year’s list features 17 heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of some $48 trillion — including the three most powerful people, Putin, Obama and Xi, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China. The 39 CEOs and chairs here control over $3.6 trillion in annual revenues. Among them are 14 founders, including the newest billionaires on the list, Alibaba’s Ma and  Tencent’s Ma Huateng (No. 53). Speaking of, this year’s class has 28 billionaires with a cumulative personal net worth valued in excess of $790 billion.

Here, a quick peek at the Most Powerful People in the World 2014:

Newcomers: Among the 12 newcomers are Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi  (No. 15), Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon (No. 29), Egypt President Abdel el-Sisi (No. 51) and Mary Barra, GM CEO (No. 62). Alexey Miller, CEO of Russian gas giant Gazprom, makes a return appearance at No. 47, after dropping of the list in years past. Miller is one of a few of Putin’s inner circle who was not placed on the U.S. and Western economic sanctions list.

Credit: Yahoo News/ Forbes

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