. . . for the 15th straight year. The poll, conducted by Russia’s Public Opinion Foundation, surveyed 1,500 Russians in 43 different regions. Putin came out the clear winner, receiving 68 percent of the votes.
(To give this survey some context: Runner-up with 4 percent of the votes was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the outspoken nationalist founder of Russia’s farcically named “Liberal Democratic Party” who has called for a ban on all English words and has speculated that the meteor that hit Russia’s Ural mountain range last year was actually a secret U.S. weapons test.)
As Jonah notes in his column today, Time magazine’s Person of the Year award was originally intended for the person who, “for better or for worse . . . has done the most to influence the events of the year.” If that was the Public Opinion Foundation’s criteria, then Putin deserves his win.