As we did last year, we’ve carried out a survey amongst our readers (in almost 40 countries), asking who among the top ten most influential people of the past year has had the greatest impact on our lives. The respondents have crowned King Vladimir Putin by a broad margin, and thus we have dedicated the cover to him. The portrait is the creation of Alessandra Alma Masi’s tormented irony, the artist who drew a wonderful portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for our Brexit cover, our best-selling issue.
In the English version we have chosen to leave the W in Wladimir (an archaic spelling from German) as a way of enhancing the imperial thrust, so reminiscent of the First Reich. ..and also, perhaps more subconsciously, of a graphic mural inscription hailing the result of our survey: at a time when true leader are at a premium, W Putin!!
A distant second and third came British Prime Minister David Cameron, who called last June’s disastrous referendum, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in power since 2014, but effectively the country’s overlord for the past decade.