Who’s more powerful: The omnipotent head of a corroding but still feisty power or the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world? This year our voters went with the former—Putin has solidifed his control over Russia (“dictator” is no longer an outlandish word to ponder) while Obama’s lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president (latest example: The government shutdown mess). Anyone watching the chess match over Syria has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamic. The list represents the collective wisdom of top Forbes editors, who consider hundreds of nominees before ranking the planet’s top 72 power brokers— one for every 100 million people on Earth—based on their scope of influence and their financial resources relative to their peers’.
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(This story appears in the 29 November, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)