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Vladimir Putin

27 - Vladimir Putin
President, Russia
Russia isn’t the enemy it used to be, but that doesn’t mean the relationship between Washington and Moscow isn’t occasionally chilly. Putin is back for another term as president, and the former KGB lieutenant colonel remains fond of playing from the Cold War hard power playbook. Flush with oil and gas revenue, Putin loves the role of powerbroker, whether bailing out Washington in Syria after the White House balked at airstrikes, or asserting his authority over former Soviet republics. The most recent example: backing the government in Kiev after it decided to delay economic links with the European Union in response to pressure from Moscow, sparking mass demonstrations across the Ukraine. Still, Russia is a United Nations Security Council member that also happens to be a nuclear power and major global arms supplier. The US may never fight Russia directly, but is sure to face its military equipment and be on the receiving end of its sharp-elbowed diplomacy. 

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