12:16 GMT18 January 2021
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    The former chief of Boris Yeltsin's Protocol Service, Vladimir Shevchenko, told Russian media about the events on the morning of 31 December 1999. Shevchenko revealed the details of the day that shocked the nation 20 years ago, as the Russian president announced his resignation on New Year's eve.

    "We have never rewritten the New Year's address. And here we decided to rewrite it", Shevchenko said, cited by the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, recalling that this was necessary because of the long time difference with the Far East. According to Shevchenko, he had no clue about the situation, until the very last moment.

    The former senior Russian official recalled his reaction to Yeltsin's surprising decision to quit.

    "Of course, in the beginning, it was: stunned, not stunned. But at least some of my [thoughts] — what will happen next? What will we do next? Nothing else [came up]", Shevchenko said, cited by Komsomolskaya Pravda.

    Yeltsin's resignation was announced at noon Moscow time on 31 December 1999. Vladimir Putin was appointed as the acting head of state, who, at the time, was the incumbent prime minister.

    According to the media report, Shevchenko refused to give interviews for the 20-year anniversary since Putin's appointment as the Russian president. During his comments to Komsomolskaya Pravda, Shevchenko has emphasized several times he does not want to speak about it.


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