Vladimir Putin is Time’s Man of the Year. I dunno, if you’re going to choose a scary world leader for MotY, I think I would have gone with Ahmadinejad, but I suppose Putin isn’t a bad choice… Thumbs up to Time, anyway, for finding the courage to nominate someone less than heroic.
Hey, wait a second. Now I’m actually reading the article I’ve linked to… Holy crap. I thought that Putin was chosen because of how he rigged the elections to maintain his stranglehold on power, and how oppressive the political climate in Russia is becoming as a result. Also, it’s clear that Russia is not the ally they used to be — hell, they just sent nuclear fuel to Iran, for God’s sake.
But, no, I see that “the 2007 honor went to the Russian leader because of Putin’s ‘extraordinary feat of leadership in taking a country that was in chaos and bringing it stability.’”
Okay, I’m speechless. Maybe Time was concerned that if they wrote something less than glowing, the magazine’s Russian reporters might find themselves imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital.
Update: All right, at least this version of the story has the Time editor also saying, “He’s the new czar of Russia and he’s dangerous in the sense that he doesn’t care about civil liberties, he doesn’t care about free speech.” So perhaps they have not shoved their heads totally up their rear ends.