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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 14:28 GMT
Putin named 'Person of the Year'
Vladimir Putin
President Putin was given the award for his "extraordinary leadership"
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named as Time Magazine's "Person of the Year".

The title was awarded to Mr Putin for his "extraordinary feat of leadership" in bringing stability to Russia, said Time's managing editor.

Former US Vice President Al Gore and Harry Potter author JK Rowling were runners-up for the title.

Last year the award was given to all members of the public who had created or downloaded content on the internet.

'Not an honour'

The magazine has given out its Person of the Year award every year since 1927.

Previous recipients have included US Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

TIME'S 'PERSON OF THE YEAR'
Time says its award recognises 'the most powerful individuals and forces shaping the world'
Many US presidents have been named Person of the Year, including George W Bush and Bill Clinton
Controversially, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Ayatollah Khomeini have also been given the title
In 2006 the magazine gave the award to everyone who had used or created online content that year

The title is "not an honour", but is given as "a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world - for better or for worse", according to the magazine.

Controversial recipients in the past have included Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Ayatollah Khomeini.

President Putin will be legally obliged to step down as Russian president next year, but is likely to become prime minister if his ally, Dmitry Medvedev, wins the presidential election in March.

Opinion polls suggest that Mr Putin is still very popular in Russia, but civil rights activists accuse him of cracking down on democratic opposition and free speech.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A look back at Vladimir Putin's year



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