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Putin delivers final New Year TV address

At a few minutes to midnight Moscow time, Vladimir Putin delivered his annual New Year address to the nation  – his last before he steps down as Russian leader in March. Millions across the country and abroad tuned in. The yearly TV address was

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev made the first New Year televised address to the nation in 1970.
In it, he read the speech off a piece of paper.  Some years later, words were written on a big poster and held under the camera.
In the late 1970s, the TV address was dropped for a while, only to be revived by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s.
He never departed from the formality of his address. However, there was a big surprise in 1989 when Gorbachev had a TV link set up with the then US President Ronald Reagan.  The two leaders exchanged greetings before saying kind words to people of both countries. It was seen as an act of friendliness between the two countries after the Cold War.
The first Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, was the first to have a Christmas tree in his address.  He was also the first to add a personal and creative twist – a glass of champagne which he raised just like millions of Russians in their households.
The team that worked with him said Yeltsin was a gift. He trusted them one hundred per cent. In one of his addresses, Boris Yeltsin had his entire family involved.
But the address still remembered by all Russians was the one on 31December 1999, when he announced his resignation to a shocked public.
Just over an hour and a half later, in the same room, the address of acting President Vladimir Putin was recorded.
“Dear friends, on this New Year's Eve, I – the same way as you – with my family, was planning to listen to the words of Russian president Boris Yeltsin. But things turned out differently,” were Putin’s first words to the nation as the country’s leader.
Vladimir Putin also had his own creative approach to the address. He left his office to go outside to address the people near the Kremlin.
The Kremlin has been the scene of all the leaders’ addresses for the last 25 years. Each leader had his own style, as well as his own ideas on how to lead the nation, and on how to address the people.
This year Russians will witness the last New Year Presidential address made by Vladimir Putin.
In 2008, they'll find out if the next Russian President continues the tradition.
To watch President Putin's TV address, please, follow the link.