Why are Putin, Taylor Swift and King Charles all in the running for the same title? Here’s what we know

The Russian President has been shortlisted for TIME’s Person of the Year, which will be announced Wednesday 6 December.

TIME Person of the Year Vladimir Putin King Charles Taylor Swift
© Gareth Cattermole/Chris Jackson/Contributor/GETTYIMAGES
TIME Person of the Year Vladimir Putin King Charles Taylor Swift

Vladimir Putin launched a full-blown invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the conflict has since cost both sides an enormous loss of life. The war has been widely condemned by the West, leading to rising tensions between Russia and NATO and continuous threats made by Putin and his cronies.

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Now, people are outraged as news spreads that the Russian despot has been nominated for the same title as iconic pop star Taylor Swift and the UK’s King Charles. The picture becomes a little clearer when you know more about TIME’s criteria for their Person of the Year. We’ll explain here and detail the publication’s justification of their nominee.

TIME’s Person of the Year

TIME explains that the 'winner' of this annual list goes to ‘​the individual, group, or concept that has had the most influence on the world throughout the previous 12 months’. It may seem very controversial, then, to have not only Vladimir Putin but also Xi Jinping on the shortlist. However, it’s not about who has made positive changes; it’s just about the enormity of their impact.

This is not the first time the list has sparked outrage. Over almost 100 years of nominees, the list has featured both Adolph Hilter and Joseph Stalin. However, as the title was given to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the ‘spirit of Ukraine’ in 2022, this choice of name appears particularly risky.

How TIME is justifying its shortlist

While Taylor Swift has enjoyed the highest-grossing global tour of all time this year, King Charles has taken over as head of the monarchy and remained true to his fight for climate protection… Well, most of the time.

Meanwhile, Putin is on the list for having ‘held the role of President or Prime Minister of Russia since 1999’. The description on their site very neutrally lays down the facts: Russia is in its second year of this conflict and despite an attempted uprising by the Wagner mercenary group rebellion, Putin’s ‘influence was only reinforced in the end, as the mercenary group retreated when a deal was struck by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko’.

Indeed, it turns out that Putin has already been named Person of the Year back in 2007 and has been on the TIME 100 list several times, including - surprisingly - last year.

It seems the publication is truly sticking to its definition of ‘impact’ as neither positive nor negative but simply of great significance. The results will be announced tomorrow, on Wednesday 6 December.

Read more:

Vladimir Putin: This AI specialist analysed his speeches, what he uncovered is terrifying

Vladimir Putin urges Russian women to churn out babies in effort to make up for war deaths

Putin ally’s terrifying desire for Russia to invade this European country: ‘I like it very much’

Sources used:

TIME: Who Will Be TIME’s Person of the Year for 2023? See the Shortlist

Mail Online: Taylor Swift, Vladimir Putin, Sam Altman and Barbie are all shortlisted for Time Person of the Year

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