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New Year’s Speech Putin in Sign of Corona: Russia has Become Stronger

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has commemorated the many thousands of corona deaths in his country in a New Year’s speech. He also paid tribute to the Russians in health care, who “rescue and care for the sick”.

 

In total, the coronavirus has already killed at least 300,000 people in Russia. The figures have been back at record levels recently, with about 1,000 fatalities per day. In addition, only 61.8 percent of Russians are fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, President Putin says that Russia has learned to live with the virus.

“We have faced colossal challenges but have learned to live in these dire circumstances and deal with the difficulties,” he said in a televised New Year’s speech on Friday.

More generally, Russia has also overcome difficulties in the past year, Putin said. “We have fought hard and consistently for our national interests, the security of the country and the citizens,” it said. “Of course, there are still many unresolved issues, but we got through this year well.” The main challenge remains to improve the living standards of Russians, the president added, “because that makes Russia stronger”.

Putin called on his compatriots, whom he addressed as “dear friends”, to “come together to face the positive changes ahead”. The speech was broadcast at midnight in eastern Russia, where the new year starts earlier than Moscow’s capital. As a result, Putin won’t be on television for a few hours there.

The past year was dominated by increasing tensions between Moscow and the west. Putin had a telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden yesterday/Thursday about the continuing Russian military threat in neighbouring eastern Ukraine.

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