Time magazine's choice of Vladimir Putin as Person of the Year is in the first place absurd, because there was an obviously more important and benign candidate in General Petraeus. But it will have consequences as well. Note the observation of Putin's spokesman: "We treat it as an acknowledgement of the role that was played by President Putin in helping to pull Russia out of the social troubles and economic troubles of the 1990s."
Or to put it another way, a thuggish regime will treat it as endorsement of a programme you would expect from a former KGB officer. Anway, here are the accolades Time is acknowledging, or perhaps is not: meddling in Ukraine's elections; undermining Middle East peace negotiations by making unilateral overtures to Hamas; gross ineptitude in dealing with the administration in Georgia, and its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; intimidation and ballot rigging in Putin's own farcical election; encouraging Iran's serial nuclear deceptions; and the unspeakable murders - by, er, hands unknown - of opponents of Putin's actions and arbitrary rule. It is a record well worth marking, indeed; but not in this way.