Russian political scientists believe that U.S. business magazine Forbes decided to place Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the top of its Most Powerful People rating largely thanks to his influence and the effectiveness of his initiative aimed at tackling problems linked to the conflict in Syria
"The reasons why Putin was chosen to head this rating, which gave 2nd and 3rd places to the leaders of the U.S. and China, are understandable. Over the 18 months of his third presidency, Putin has demonstrated a target-oriented approach both in domestic and foreign policies. In the world, this is sensed in a particularly strong way, especially in critical issues like Syria," Leonid Polyakov, head of the Higher School of Economics Political Science Department, told Interfax on Wednesday.
"As far as the Syrian problem is concerned, Putin's initiative effectively transformed an extremely explosive situation in the Middle East into a search for diplomatic solutions to this problem. Yet a great deal remains to be done in this respect, but the most important thing is that many countries, even those that had been prepared to stage an aggression against this sovereign state before Putin's initiative, agreed to embark on a search for political solutions," he said.
For his part, Alexei Mukhin, Center of Political Information general director, also agreed that the Syrian factor had a serious impact on the Russian president's position in the Forbes 2013 World's Most Powerful People rating.
"Everything just slotted into place. Vladimir Putin's success on the foreign policy track, especially his contribution to efforts to resolve the Syrian problem, and the decision to block the U.S. unlawful initiatives within the UN Security Council played their role and helped place the Russian president in the spotlight as a world-level political leader," Mukhin told Interfax.
Strikingly, U.S. President Barack Obama holds 2nd place in this rating, he added.
"Putin's position in the rating is explainable and logical. Barack Obama's slide to number two spot in the rating is also logical because he has failed to deliver on his pre-election promises and, besides, has made a number of mistakes in foreign policy, including by offering support to militants of the Syrian opposition," he said.
It was announced earlier that Forbes magazine ranked Russian President Vladimir Putin first in its annual World's Most Powerful People rating.
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