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Time magazine's 'Person of the Year' is Russian president Vladimir Putin! Congrats Vlad! The guy has restored relative economic stability to one of the most fascinating countries of our time and his loose interpretation of term limits and free speech make him a political lightning rod. Over the last several decades, we've come to rely on 'Time' to put someone admirable and fairly easy to digest on the last cover of the year—the Pope, American women, the computer! The last time the magazine chose a less than popular figure, it was Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979; readers were so outraged that many canceled their subscriptions.

Hey, Time, were we feeling a little sheepish after last year's softie copout? Ooh, let's kick Brian William's suggestion of Mamasita Earth to the curb and get back to putting someone serious and newsy on the cover! How about a former KGB agent! Serious. Boring! But newsy.

The rest of Time's 2007 list feels a little more familiar: J.K. Rowling, Don Imus, The Jena 6, Radiohead, Britney Spears—Hannah Montana, for God's sakes. And of course, let's not forget Al Gore, who'll probably put on at least ten pounds this month just dealing with the fact that once again, he's runner-up. Always a bridesmaid, Albert, never the bride.

Time: Person Of The Year
Earlier: 'Time' Person Of The Year: Might Be Less Sucky Than Last Year?