The Margin: Time 100: Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky make the most influential list for 2022


The Time 100 Most Influential People of 2022 is out, and the presidents of Russia and Ukraine both make this year’s list. 

“Influence, of course, may be for good or for ill — a dichotomy never more visible than in this year’s Time 100, which includes both Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky,” writes Time CEO and editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal, who calls the leaders “the poles” of this list, and this moment in history. 

“The Russian dictator behind a brutal war, and his foe, the Ukrainian President, whose leadership has made him a rare heroic figure in our divisive time,” he continues. 

The issue includes a tribute to Zelensky from President Joe Biden, who writes that “the people of Ukraine have a leader worthy of their bravery and resilience.” And he continues that, “The nations of the free world are more united, more determined, and more purposeful than at any point in recent memory,” to support Ukraine.

But Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny suggests in the Time segment on Putin that the world enabled Russia’s invasion by signing lucrative oil and gas contracts with the country while Putin’s power was growing. 

“Dictatorship always leads to war,” writes Navalny. And the conflict in Ukraine “will cost hundreds of times more” than those energy deals did, he says.

Related: Starbucks to end business in Russia

The Time list also divides the 100 most influential people into categories such as “titans,” which includes Apple

CEO Tim Cook, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, and U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team players Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan. The latter trio helped drive the U.S. Soccer Federation to reach a milestone equal-pay pact with the men’s and women’s national teams, which tennis and equal-rights legend Billie Jean King writes “was the biggest win of their lives.”

Incoming Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court when she replaces the retiring Stephen Breyer, also joins the Time 100. “With grit and grace, and holding more trial-court experience than any current Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson demonstrated to America that she was prepared, poised, and would ultimately persevere through insults and attacks,” writes Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) for Time. He calls her confirmation “a 21st century Jackie Robinson moment.” 

Wordle creator Josh Wardle also makes the list, for developing the free viral online word game that he sold to the New York Times for an amount “in the low seven figures” earlier this year. 

Check out the complete Time 100 Most Influential People of 2022 list here.

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