Time’s Man of the Year

21 12 2007

We have now an occasion — one of the extremely rare condition — where it’s ok to agree with Mitt Romney. The Republican presidential hopeful spoke out yesterday, alongside John McCain, against Time Magazine’s choice for Man of the Year.

The choice? Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Putin has indeed overseen a number of positive changes in the Motherland. His approval rating, though suspect in a system that is notoriously liberal with its fact-getting, is near 80 percent. But at what cost?

The Economist summed up his platte-cold, lead-fisted, authoritarian approach to governance in two ascerbic sentences: one topic, one jugular-seeking. “Mr Putin has moved progressively to snuff out even the faintest flickers of democracy that he inherited from Boris Yeltsin. He has crushe dopponents, emasculated the courts and parliament, eliminated independent broadcast media, scrapped the autonomy of Russia’s regions and blatantly fixed elections.”

Eighty percent seems a bit more suspect now. He’s also brought a huge number of Russia’s industries under state control and consolidated the political system into a single-party program again.

He’s also tabbed to be the next prime minister, a demotion only nominally, because presidents can only serve a maximum of two terms in Russia. But the man he’s suggested to succeed him, deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, is a fervent loyalist, and would seem to run the country from the shotgun seat. “Mr Medvedev,” The Economist writes, “has depended entirely on Mr Putin’s patronage throughout his short career.” Putin would remain in charge.

He’s not a tyrant, no. But neither is he a man to be glorified.

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4 responses

21 12 2007
Justin

Time’s person of the year isn’t supposed to be the “best person of the year” or somesuch. It’s rather the person who ostensibly made the most news. There’s a reason why Hitler, Stalin, Ayatollah Khomeini and George W. Bush have received the distinction.

Controversy sells magazines.

These GOP candidates are so lame that they’re looking for any sort of angle to portray themselves as staunch defenders of the “American way of life”. To me, they come off as clueless. How about they actually focus on the creation of more intelligent policy instead of essentially endorsing the sentiment of Putin’s media censorship?

As for Russia–same as it ever was?

22 12 2007
scheity

You are correct, sir. I didn’t do appropriate research for this one, and obviously didn’t realize that Hitler had received the same honor.

Go Russia.

29 12 2007
James

I came in to say exactly what Justin has said. Time’s man of the year is not meant to validate or glorify the person they name. I think it is a good choice because it brings to the forefront of national discourse a region that is on the rise again; in the hands of a very scary man. While I have read a couple of news stories scattered around a couple of publications, it was nice to get an entire magazine dedicated to a person who is going to be one of the most important world leaders for a long time.

30 12 2007
TMoore

Time man of the year should be this guy…

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