Who has made Putin's 2021 naughty or nice list?
As 2021 draws to an end and people gear up to celebrate the New Year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended his season's greetings to top global politicians, including his US counterpart Joe Biden and others.
The Kremlin Press Service issued Putin's annual list on Thursday, ranging from several leaders of former Soviet republics, close allies, as well as states that Russia has historically seen as rivals.
Queen Elizabeth II made the cut for a festive message, as did British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to the read-out, the Russian leader emphasized to Johnson that the development of Moscow-London relations "on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual respect would meet the fundamental interests of the peoples of the two countries and contribute to strengthening stability and security in Europe and the world as a whole."
Biden also was sent a New Year and a Christmas message, in which Vladimir Putin noted that Russia and the US, as countries with special responsibilities for international and regional stability, can and should come together to mount a joint effort to challenge threats facing humanity. "I am convinced that building on our agreements reached during the June summit in Geneva and subsequent contacts, we can move forward and establish an effective US-Russian dialogue based on mutual respect and consideration of each other's national interests," the message read.
Chinese President Xi Jinping received one of the lengthiest congratulations. In his telegram to the leader of the world's most populous nation, Putin praised Moscow-Beijing relations. Despite the difficult backdrop of the pandemic, "Russia and China interacted quite productively: an active political dialogue continued at all levels, record results were achieved in trade, and good practical results were brought by scientific, technological and innovative cooperation over the years," the message read.
Putin also included a note saying that he was looking forward to meeting at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which has seen a number of states announce a diplomatic boycott due to widespread allegations of Chinese human rights abuses against its Uighur community.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again missed out on a message after being left off of the Russian leader's list last year. The snub comes amid tensions along their shared border in recent weeks, with western media outlets and leaders alleging that Moscow is planning an invasion of its neighbor, which the Kremlin has denied.
New Year is one of Russia's major public holidays and widely viewed as a time for optimism and friendship. Putin revealed his plans in an interview on Sunday, sharing that he plans to spend it with his loved ones listening to his own annual televised address, which is watched by Russians across the country.