Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the year 2011 was difficult but good for the country and called on Russian nationals to unite efforts to make the country better.
“In a few moments the Kremlin tower chimes will strike and we will wish each other a Happy New Year. Now a festive mood and a very special atmosphere reign in every home across the country,” the outgoing leader said in his last New Year’s televised address to the nation aired a few minutes before the stroke of midnight.
“By tradition, we use these moments to bid farewell to the outgoing year. It was not an easy year but its outcome for our country has been positive. This is the result of our joint efforts, and what next year will bring also depends on us,” Medvedev said.
“Exactly 20 years ago we celebrated our first New Year in a country called Russia - a name celebrated for the illustrious deeds of our great ancestors, who over the centuries built up a huge and very strong power, a great country,” he said.
“It is our duty to preserve it and to build a progressive state, where all of us can live comfortably and do stimulating work,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev said the people’s strength is in their ability to “hear, understand and respect each other, to tackle challenges together and achieve success.”
“The New Year is approaching. It’s time to open the champagne and make our wishes. Tonight I wish health and prosperity to you and your loved ones, for your lives to be full of love and all your dreams to come true,” he said.
“Believe in yourself, and I believe in each one of you. We will succeed! Happiness to all of you! Happy Holiday! Happy New Year 2012!” he concluded.
Russia will hold presidential elections on March 4, 2012. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who held the presidential post in 2000-2008, is generally considered a shoo-in for a new presidential term this year.