TIME’s 100 most influential people is a list graced with celebrity, artistry, and leadership. Amongst the robust ranking of influence lies names such as Zendaya and Oprah, a broad scope of artists and leaders. Russian President Vladimir Putin has influenced the most change globally, although not positively. The Russian dictator takes the cake when it comes to influence in 2022.
Putin’s long-seen political rival, Alexei Navalny, preceded the TIME’s announcement, claiming that perhaps Putin’s life mission is to influence, “Perhaps Vladimir Putin’s true mission is to teach lessons. To everyone — from world leaders and pundits to ordinary people. He has been especially good at this in 2022. He reminded us that a path that begins with ‘just a little election rigging’ always ends with a dictatorship; it’s a lesson we shouldn’t have forgotten.”
It’s no secret the Kremlin condemning the Russian opposition leader has experienced rough ends of his own; he was already serving a jail term when he was convicted in a fraud case rejected by supporters as fabricated. Navalny got denied his appeal against a nine-year prison term, a term that he continues to deny committing. The 45-year-old claims the fraud charges were fabricated to undercut his political ambitions.
He was initially sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating bail conditions while in hospital but got handed an additional nine years in March for fraud and contempt of court.
When fighting for his freedom today, Navalny spoke about his appeal during his first trial in February of 2021. He said the judge of his 2021 trial, Natalya Repnikova, had later told his lawyers she regretted her decision. Repnikova died months later of coronavirus “according to the official version,” he reportedly told the court, raising suspicion of Russian involvement in Repnikova’s demise.
Before his appeal got denied, Navalny made sure he used whatever forum he could to get a message out to Moscow via a video link at his penal colony, saying, “You will suffer a historic defeat in this stupid war that you started. It has no purpose or meaning. Why are we fighting a war? One madman has got his claws into Ukraine, and I do not know what he wants to do with it – this crazy thief.” The judge repeatedly interrupted Navalny when speaking about the stupidity of Russia.
Navalny described Putin’s Russia as a state ruled by thieves and criminals and undercut Putin and his supporters by predicting that they would be crushed by history and burned in hell for causing carnage in Ukraine.
Navalny is set to be transported to a prison with a much harsher regime and fewer privileges for visitation. His colleagues say he is due to be moved to a facility in Melekhovo, where one former prisoner has made allegations of systematic torture.
As time fleets from Navalny, TIME highlights Putin.