Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is Russia's most dominant politician and is widely seen as the puppetmaster behind President Dmitry Medvedev. As president (2000-2008), Putin was credited with bringing political stability to Russia, re-establishing the rule of law and strengthening the economy. His international status is also affirmed - this year, he even had a peak in the Tian Shan Mountains named after him by the Kyrgyz government. However, Putin's conduct in office, his human rights record and the extent of his personal wealth have all been heavily criticised. Charges of corruption are routinely levelled at the former KGB agent. Yet how this will affect the presidential elections next year remains to be seen. Putin is expected to run and, at the moment, he seems certain to win.
Previous: 23. Usain Bolt
Next: 25. Richard Dawkins