Time have a track record for choosing interesting people for this award including Hitler and Stalin. But I can understand this two choices, in 1938 when Hitler won the award he was rebuilding Germany quite successfully, and in 1939 and 1942 'Uncle Joe' was creating a workers paradise and winning the second world war. But Putin ... hmmm ... apart from rigging an election or two does he really deserve to be man of the year.
Let's look at the reasons given by Time in there editorial " With an iron will - and at significant cost to the principles that free nations prize - Putin has brought Russia back as a world power. It was his year." I don't agree with this statement, yes Putin has brought a measure of stability to the Federation but is Russia a world power again? I was thinking that runner up Al Gore has had more influence than Putin. Time make no distinction for positive or negative influence in there choice and in the end it means nothing other than a talking point, and an excuse to sell magazines.
If you're interested in seeing past winners visit the following and take in the eclectic list that is Time's Person of the Year at; http://history1900s.about.com/library/weekly/aa050400a.htm.