NEW YORK - For a second year in a row, Russian President Vladimir Putin has beaten Barack Obama to the title of world's most powerful leader as ranked by Forbes.
In a year in which Russia annexed Crimea, stoked a conflict in Ukraine and clinched a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline deal with China that Forbes called the world's largest construction project, Putin remained on top.
It was the third time in Obama's presidency that he has lost top billing - twice to Putin and once to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
"So who's more powerful: the omnipotent head of (a) corroding but still feisty power or the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world?" Forbes asked.
"For the second year running, our votes went with the Russian president as the world's most powerful person, followed by US President Barack Obama."
The 2014 list of 72 powerbrokers was chosen to reflect one for every 100 million lesser mortals on Earth and the top five remained unchanged from last year.
Third prize went to Jinping, who is expected to rule for a decade in which China is set to eclipse the United States as the world's largest economy.
Pope Francis was number four and German Chancellor Angela Merkel number five.
Among 12 newcomers are Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, number 15; Alibaba founder-and China's richest man Jack Ma, number 30; and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State group, number 54.
While 26 on the list come from the United States, Asia Pacific made a strong showing with 19 from the region, including six from China.
The list includes 17 heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of US$48 trillion (S$60 trillion) and 39 CEOs and chairs who control over US$3.6 trillion in annual revenue.
Nine women made the cut - but for the first time two women - Merkel and US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen - reached the top 10.