Forbes has come out with its list of the 72 most powerful people in the world (one for every 100 million people on the planet, naturally), giving Vladimir Putin the top spot for the second year running. Apple CEO Tim Cook came in at #25, the only openly LGBT person on the list.
Forbes is quick to point out that they don’t actually like Putin, calling him “the omnipotent head of a feisty former superpower,” while they describe Obama (who ranks #2) as “the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world.”
And how has Putin been using his one-in-7.2-billion odds of being the most powerful collection of human cells currently constituting a pulse? Yeah, nothing good to report there.
He’s started a few wars, annexed an unwilling country, and provided the surface-to-air weapons that took down a commercial plane, killing 298 people.
And that’s just a taste of his foreign policy. We’re all aware of his attitude towards gay Russians — so called “anti-propaganda” laws make it illegal to publicly present a gay lifestyle in positive manner.
But his strong-arming tactics may go even farther. Just today it was reported that well-known Russian actor and outspoken Putin critic Alexei Devotchenko was discovered dead in his apartment in a pool of blood.
Devotchenko famously encouraged other performers to avoid “ultra-patriotic, propagandistic, chauvinistic, anti-Semitic, or pro-Stalinist feature films and television projects” and “agitprop documentaries,” and in a recent blog post slammed Putin’s regime for its “lies, its cover-ups, its legalised theft, its bribe-taking and its other triumphs.”
Most telling of the highly suspicious death is the creative reporting being circulated through pro-Kremlin news sources. One suggests that Devotchenko died after falling and hitting his head while drunk, and the other claims he was surrounded by whisky bottles and pills.
Many Russians are interpreting the death as a clear-as-day assassination:
@tsnowbird5000 Alexei Devotchenko knew his odds; standing for truth & right in Putin’s Russia is lethal – and yet he did it. R.I.P. hero.
— svarun (@svarun_01) November 5, 2014