Correction Appended: December 10, 2012
Artist: Michael Pleesz
There's an almost sinister appeal to this cover by Austrian artist Michael Pleesz. Set against a blood-red background of Moscow iconography, the design captures one of Putin's most striking features his icy stare. Look closely and you'll notice handcuffs hidden in the Russian president's tie a reminder that TIME's Person of the Year is not always bestowed upon those who do good.
The original version of this article misidentified the artist as Australian. The artist is Austrian.