Ratings schmatings

I get the sense that you people don’t care much for ratings. Nor do I, really, except for when they hit on something true, as they often do.

Take today’s release of Forbes Magazine’s Powerful People rankings. The (non) surprise here: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the humble Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, comes in at #4, a full eight slots above the President, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev — and that in Russia’s super-presidential political system. (In between are non-presidential pissants like the “Pope” and “Ben Bernanke.”)

Quibble all you want about the precision of the numbers, but I dare you to contest the truth this ranking reflects.

via Forbes

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6 Responses to Ratings schmatings

  1. marknesop says:

    I’m afraid I don’t see any truth at all in it. I checked, and neither of the people who compiled the list lives in Russia, so ipso-facto have no realistic appreciation of how Mr. Putin “exercises his influence over a lot of people”, “has significant financial resources in relation to his peers”, “is powerful in multiple spheres” and “actively wields his power”. Neither lives in Italy, either, but they gave Silvio Berlusconi extra points for owning a soccer team. How ridiculous is that?

    We established a couple of days ago that you must actually live in the country concerned if you wish to truly “have your finger on the pulse”. Since it is physically impossible for the 2 editors who compiled this list to have been physically present in all those countries, the list is just an exercise in entertainment with no support whatsoever for weighty conclusions or momentous pontification.

    • Yeah, but talk to anyone inside the political system in Moscow and they laugh — laugh — at the idea that Medvedev is in charge, and Putin isn’t. Everyone here knows who’s in charge, and it’s not #12.

      • marknesop says:

        That’s certainly not a unique situation. I don’t live in the United States and so am not qualified to comment on the political situation there. But I’m told that if you talk to anyone inside the political system in Washington they laugh – laugh – at the idea that Obama is in charge and the Republicans aren’t.

        People said similar things about the Bush-Cheney relationship, and there were quite a few amusing cartoons of Cheney with a little Bush marionette on his knee. Americans didn’t seem to think it was as earth-shaking as this apparently is.

        So I have to ask – so what? So what if Putin is in charge, and Medvedev isn’t? Putin used to be the President; it’s not like the janitor is in charge, or something. Putin knows how to be President at least as well as he knows how to be Prime Minister. Is Medvedev’s philosophy markedly different from Putin’s, which is to ask, would political decisions be made differently? It doesn’t seem to make any difference to you – you don’t care for either of them, so does it really matter if Disliked and Allegedly Despotic Leader A or Disliked and Allegedly Despotic Leader B is calling the shots? Would Boris Nemtsov have to devote more or less time to how his wardrobe would look in western media photographs while being arrested if Medvedev had more influence? Would things really be any different? And if not, what does it really matter?

        I don’t live in Russia, either, so you doubtless know better than I, but has Russia – by nonpartisan measure – gotten worse or better under the Putin/Medvedev government? Try for a minute to forget that the 31 protesters still have some problems getting face time on Triumfilnaya Square, and look at Russia’s national profile – up or down on standards of living, paying down of national debt, cash reserves. I appreciate that things are not changing as fast as you’d like, but are they changing for the worse or for the better? Not for foreign journalists who live in Russia, for ordinary Russians who can’t leave whenever they like. Who would run the country better? Why?

  2. Sure. Medvedev can fire Putin. Putin can’t fire Medvedev (not directly in any case).

  3. Timothy Post says:

    Julia, you make the classic mistake of assuming that one must be in charge. This is a very American mistake that many of us have made in the past. The reality is that Putin and Medvedev are part of an executive board (e.g. Vorstand) and that while there may be a Director of the Board, the board, as a whole, debates, discusses, and decides issues together. Putin, as the “Director” of this Vorstand, may hold a de facto veto power. Nonetheless, the board operates as one.

  4. mab says:

    So Mr Post, when Putin was president, do you think he wasn’t in charge? That decisions were made by the “board”? (I’m not being snotty: that’s a real question.)

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