Why you should care
Siv Jensen, Ramadan Kadyrov and Xi Jinping are already global leaders, and they’re still on the way up.
OZY readers sure have global interests. Two of our top five most-read stories are about fascinating, if controversial, world leaders. Covering the new and the next around the world is a core part of what we’re about, so it’s gratifying to see that you’re just as interested in these people as we are. Have you read about the lady with the bone in her nose, the Instagram dictator or China’s enigmatic new leader? If not, here are three names you need to know.
Leader of Norway’s influential Progress Party, Siv Jensen is known as the “lady with the bone in her nose,” to use a traditional idiom. It means she’s a tough lady who knows what she stands for, according to one of her compatriots. She’s been compared to England’s Margaret Thatcher, and just like the Iron Lady, she is a pragmatic leader whose rise has been somewhat surprising, and Jeff Chu explains how she rose to the top. When our story ran last week, we speculated that she would become the country’s next finance minister in charge of Norway’s whopping $800 billion Government Pension Fund, a global trendsetter. Yesterday, it became official — she got the job.
Our piece about the ironfisted Instagrammer, Ramzan Kadyrov, is still our most popular profile. Kadyrov is a fascinating figure, credited with stabilizing his country but also accused of kidnapping, torturing and murdering hundreds of people there. He’s taken to social media with images of himself smelling flowers, playing with animals and posing with a friendly grin — will the image control pay off? So far, the answer appears to be yes. Even as instability rises with the North Caucasus’s leaders, Kadyrov remains in power.
The leader of China is in charge of the world’s most populous country and second largest economy, so Xi Jinping may be the most powerful man in the world. He’d certainly like you to think he is. Last week, when the government shutdown kept President Obama home in Washington, D.C., Xi stepped to center stage at the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Bali, posing alongside Russian president Vladimir Putin in official photos. The enigmatic Xi may be the perfect leader for China, a country straddling multiple identities and outlooks. But while some hope that he will be a reformer, lately he’s been seen as consolidating his power. Which direction he chooses will have a significant impact not just on China, but the world.