Putin praises people for restoring Russia's territorial integrity

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Moscow, Jan 1 (UNI) In his last nationally televised New Year address, President Vladimir Putin highly praised people for their joint efforts to restore the territorial integrity of Russia.

''I want to sincerely thank you for everything that we have done together with you during the past eight years,'' Putin said in his five-minute address to the nation from the Kremlin.

''All that we have managed to achieve would have been simply impossible without your steadfast support, without your trust, without your direct participation in the revival of our country,'' he added.

The President said, they have not only restored the territorial integrity of Russia, but once again are able to feel they are a united people.

''And all these years we worked together to preserve our country, to transform it into a modern, free, strong state able to provide its citizens with a convenient and comfortable life,'' the President pointed out.

He said in the last eight years, Russia has been gaining in strength and becoming stronger from year to year economically and opening up new opportunities for the people.

''To be sure, we have not managed to do everything. But I am quite certain that the road the people have chosen for Russia is the right road and that it will lead us to success,'' he said.

He added, ''We have everything to achieve our goal--our great history, colossal resources, courage, industriousness and intellectual potential of our great nation.'' Mr Putin, who is to step down after the March 2 presidential election, urged the people to wish each other new achievement and expressed the hope that Russia will become stronger and blossom in the future.

UNI XC MP BST0454

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