As TIME prepares to reveal the 2013 Person of the Year, a look into the archive at past winners. In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited TIME reporters and editors to visit his dacha outside Moscow for a candid interview.
In 2008, after the historic election of Barack Obama, the new president was named Person of the Year. To get closer to the man behind the myth, TIME went to Chicago to meet and interview those who knew Obama as a community organizer.
The next year was dominated by the financial crisis which hit the U.S. at the end of 2008. In recognition of his influence on the economy, TIME chose Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke as Person of the Year.
In 2010, many new players stepped onto the world stage, including WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange. But TIME’s choice went to another man of considerable influence: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. TIME managing editor Richard Stengel sat down with Zuckerberg at his company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.
TIME deemed 2011 the year of ‘The Protester,’ recognizing the overwhelming influence of the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East and the Occupy movements across the U.S. Cover story writer Kurt Andersen explained the protests were “the biggest deal in more than a century.”
And last year, President Barack Obama was again recognized as Person of the Year – but this time not only for his galvanizing presence in the Oval Office, but also for the success of the most technologically advanced campaign in U.S. history.