Vladimir Putin praised the Russian military in his New Year’s Eve speech on Sunday, calling for “unity” in a subdued speech that did not explicitly mention the conflict in Ukraine.
In stark contrast to last year, when the Kremlin chief was flanked by soldiers in uniform, Putin described 2024 as the “year of the family” against the traditional backdrop of the Kremlin.
“We have repeatedly proven that we are capable of solving the most difficult tasks and that we will never go backbecause there is no force that can separate us“, to forget the memory and faith of our parents, to stop our development,” Putin said in the speech, broadcast on state television.
The televised New Year’s Eve speech, continuing a tradition started by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, is a common festive event in Russia, followed in millions of homes.
It is broadcast just before midnight in each of Russia’s 11 time zones, and is usually a summary of the events of the past year, as well as wishes for the coming year. It was already broadcast in the Far East of Russia, where due to the time difference it is already January 1.
“In the outgoing year we worked hard and achieved a lot, we are proud of our common achievements, we rejoice in our successes and we stood firm in the defense of national interests, our freedom and security, our valueswho have been and continue to be unwavering support for us,” Putin stressed.
The president, who did not mention Ukraine in his speech, He especially addressed the military, “to all those who are in their position, on the front line of the fight for truth and justice.”
“You are our heroes. Our hearts are with you. “We are proud of you and admire your courage,” he said.
Ukraine begins a difficult year as Western aid begins to dwindle, raising the risk that the flow of ammunition and funds will dry up.
Putin is Russia’s longest-serving president since Joseph Stalin and his name will appear on the ballot again when Russians vote in March.
Few expect the vote to be completely free or fair, or that the former KGB member will return to the shadows.
(With information from AFP and EFE)