Russian President Vladimir Putin has been honoured with the Times newspaper’s International Person of the Year Award.
Noting various accomplishments including winning over the Ukraine and “rescued weakter team players such as President Assad of Syria and Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower”, the Times gave the honour to the Russian President.
It goes on to note 2013 as “a vintage moment, the high point”, of President Putin’s career.
Failing to note the international human rights crisis over his signing of June’s law banning the promotion of homosexuality, there is only one acknowledgement of the controversy faced by Putin over the Sochi Winter Olympics taking place next month.
It reads: “Mr Putin, then, is a winner, for this year at least. Next year is likely be altogether different. At least some of the theatre of amnesty and pardons is about smoothing the path to the Sochi Games in February, defusing any political disruption for what is supposed to be a show of Russian munificence, a lovable Russia led by a President who loves labradors.”
The article referred to, among others, a member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot who walked free from prison last week, but said she would rather have stayed behind bars, calling Putin’s amnesty law a “PR stunt.”
The piece ends with: “The prospect of unravelling authority could turn Mr Putin towards better domestic and economic management, rather than power-play abroad. If that happens, the winners of 2014 may well be the Russian people rather than the opportunist who leads them.”
Putin in June signed a law banning the promotion of homosexuality, and has been heavily criticised over the move.
The editor of Telegraph Blogs last week wrote a column questioning the decision by Time Magazine to name Pope Francis as its Person of the Year, noting a recent revelation that he said he was “shocked” by gay adoption in Malta.