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Vladimir Putin Tops Obama as ‘World’s Most Powerful Person’

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Vladimir Putin has usurped President Obama as Forbes’ Most Powerful Person in the World this year for the first time in Obama’s presidency.

The magazine published its annual list Wednesday and noted that the Russian president had overtaken his American counterpart in part because of Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict this summer.

“Putin has solidified his control over Russia and anyone watching the chess match over Syria has a clear idea of the shift in the power towards Putin on the global stage,” Forbes wrote.  “The ex-KGB strongman -- who controls a nuclear-tipped army, a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves  -- is allowed to serve another six-year term, which could keep him in office until 2024.”

Putin has flaunted his power over the past year, including during heightened tensions with the U.S. over Syria when he penned an op-ed critical of Obama and published it in The New York Times.

As Russia and the U.S. came to agreement over disarming Syria, Putin was also touting the fact that he provided refuge for Edward Snowden, the intelligence leaker sought by the U.S. for publishing National Security Agency’s secrets.

As Russia prepares to host the Olympics early next year, Putin used his clout to change the official launch date of the Soyuz spacecraft so that it could take with it the Olympic torch for a spacewalk, making Russia the country that netted the torch the most miles before an Olympics.

The trained judo fighter has also showed his power in other, less-subtle ways, such as when he releases photographs of himself riding horses bare-chested, riding in a motorized hang-glider, playing hockey, and scuba diving.

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