Emphasizing the fact that the 90-year old title is not an endorsement, the US current affairs magazine argued that Putin’s achievement was to bring back his country from chaos to “the table of world powers”.
Deputy Managing Editor Adi Ignatius: “We picked President Putin as Person of the Year, and let me just quickly say that it’s not an hon our, you know we’re not saying that he’s a good person, we’re not saying he’s a bad person. He is the person who has most affected the news in 2007 and going forward. Putin has done a remarkable job bringing stability back to Russia.”
Former Russian prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov disagrees with Time’s choice: “I think I would have no objections as soon as President Putin arranges free and fair elections. But if not, it absolutely has nothing to do with the Man of the Year.”
This year’s runner-ups include British author JK Rowling and former US vice-president Al Gore. Previous titles have gone to a wide range of personalities from Adolf Hitler to Martin Luther King.