Forbes has selected Russian President Vladimir Putin as the world’s most powerful person in 2013. He rose from #3 a year ago, displacing President Barack Obama, who fell to #2, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who descended three spots to number five.
Brookings scholars have a long history of analyzing Russia and its leaders, including Vladimir Putin. Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, and Senior Fellow Clifford Gaddy are co-authors of the notable book published earlier this year by Brookings Institution press, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin. Learn more about Putin’s many facets in this interactive personality wheel.
In September, after Putin wrote a widely-criticized (in the West) op-ed for the New York Times, Hill said that “Putin has put himself right where he wants to be.” He is, says Hill, “particularly proud” of his communications skills, honed during his days as a KGB operative.
Angela Stent, a nonresident senior fellow with CUSE and a Georgetown University professor, has written of her personal experience with the Russian president at the annual Valdai International Discussion Club, a convening of top Russia experts with leading Russian officials, politicians, journalists and academics. Stent, who has attended all ten meetings, recently wrote that Putin,
Criticizing “excessive political correctness” he declared that the European multicultural project had failed. He also warned that attempts by un-named powers to revive the model of a unipolar world had also failed. Stressing Russia’s right to have a seat at the table on all decisions of major international importance, he invoked the times when Russia had made an important contribution to world peace—the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the Yalta Conference in 1945. He warned that when Russia was excluded—for instance from the 1919 Treaty of Versailles—this led to war.
These and other Brookings scholars have provided a wealth of research and commentary on Vladimir Putin and policy challenges offered by Russia’s renewed ambitions for world status.
For Putin, humbling Merkel would be a victory for him across Europe, and the West.