Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led the 2022 TIME100 reader poll, in which readers voted for the people they thought deserved a spot on TIME’s annual list of most influential people of the year. With more than 3.3 million votes cast, Zelensky came in first with 5% of the vote.
When Russian forces began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, Zelensky, a comedian with no political experience before he was elected Ukraine’s President in 2019, was thrust onto the world stage and rallied leaders to support Ukraine. “You understand that they’re watching,” he told TIME’s Simon Shuster in an April interview on his role in the war. “You’re a symbol. You need to act the way the head of state must act.”
Read More: Inside Zelensky’s World
In second place was Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk with 3.5% of the vote. Just last December, Musk was named TIME’s 2021 Person of the Year for his influence on “life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth too,” as Editor-in-Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal wrote. The wealthiest person in the world, Musk continued to make headlines this year when Twitter accepted his $44 billion offer to buy the social media platform.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson came in third with 3.4% of the vote. At the start of the year, Johnson faced backlash and was fined by the police when news surfaced that he’d broken his own Conservative government’s pandemic lockdown rules when he attended a birthday celebration in his Downing Street office back in June 2020. The first sitting British prime minister found to have broken the law, Johnson apologized in April but said he didn’t knowingly break the rules.
Closely following Johnson, with 3.2% of the vote, were health care workers, who remain critical to the ongoing fight against COVID-19. U.S. President Joe Biden came in fifth with 3.1% of the vote. Over the past year, the Biden Administration has led the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, appointed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, and faced pressure as he tried to push his agenda through a divided Congress amid the looming threats of inflation and climate change. The upcoming November midterm elections will determine whether the Democratic party will maintain control of Congress, and ultimately decide the level of influence the remainder of Biden’s presidential term will hold.
The 2022 TIME100 list, which is ultimately chosen by TIME editors, will be unveiled on May 23.
- How to Help Victims of the Texas School Shooting
- TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2022
- What the Buffalo Tragedy Has to Do With the Effort to Overturn Roe
- Column: The U.S. Failed Miserably on COVID-19. Canada Shows It Didn't Have to Be That Way
- N.Y. Will Soon Require Businesses to Post Salaries in Job Listings. Here's What Happened When Colorado Did It
- The 46 Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2022
- ‘We Are in a Moment of Reckoning.’ Amanda Nguyen on Taking the Fight for Sexual Violence Survivors to the U.N.