Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led the 2022 TIME100 reader poll, in which readers voted for the people they thought deserved a spot on TIME’s annual list of most influential people of the year. Zelensky won 5% with more than 3.3million votes.
When Russian forces began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, Zelensky, a comedian with no political experience before he was elected Ukraine’s President in 2019, was thrust onto the world stage and rallied leaders to support Ukraine. “You understand that they’re watching,” he told TIME’s Simon Shuster in an April interview on his role in the war. “You’re a symbol. You need to act the way the head of state must act.”
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukainian president, stands in Bucha, north of Kyiv on April 4, 2022.
Ronaldo Schemidt—AFP/Getty Images
With 3.5% of votes, Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Tesla CEO came in second. Just last December, Musk was named TIME’s 2021 Person of the Year for his influence on “life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth too,” as Editor-in-Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal wrote. Musk, the richest person on the planet, continued to be the subject of headlines when Twitter agreed to pay $44 billion for the platform’s purchase.
Boris Johnson was third, with 3.4%. At the start of the year, Johnson faced backlash and was fined by the police when news surfaced that he’d broken his own Conservative government’s pandemic lockdown rules when he attended a birthday celebration in his Downing Street office back in June 2020. The first sitting British prime minister found to have broken the law, Johnson apologized in April but said he didn’t knowingly break the rules.
Johnson came in close behind with 3.2%. Health care workers were next, and they continue to be critical for the fight against COVID-19. U.S. President Joe Biden placed fifth, with 3.1%. Over the past year, the Biden Administration has led the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, appointed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, and faced pressure as he tried to push his agenda through a divided Congress amid the looming threats of inflation and climate change. The upcoming November midterm elections will determine whether the Democratic party will maintain control of Congress, and ultimately decide the level of influence the remainder of Biden’s presidential term will hold.
TIME editors ultimately choose the 2022 TIME100 list. The TIME100 list will be released on May 23.
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