By Tara John
November 4, 2015

For the third year running, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been picked as the world’s most powerful person by Forbes.

He beat U.S. President Barack Obama, who dropped down to third place, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently in second, due to being “one of the few men in the world powerful enough to do what he wants –and get away with it,” wrote Forbes.

Nothing can keep Putin down, says the magazine. His approval ratings soared to 89% despite Russia’s deepening recession and “international sanctions set in place after he seized Crimea and waged war-by-proxy in the Ukraine.”

He has also been rebuilding Russia’s influence abroad. “In October, he bombed ISIS forces in Syria and then met face-to-face with President Assad, making the U.S and NATO look weak in the region” Forbes wrote.

To compile the list, which includes Pope Francis, Larry Page and world’s richest man Bill Gates, they measured power along four dimensions: whether the candidate has power over lots of people, financial resources, if they held power in multiple spheres and whether they used said power.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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