Putin's New Year's message praises Crimea's 'return home'

Putin: The new year 'will turn out the way we make it,' said the Russian president in his New Year's message.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/File
Russian President Vladimir Putin waves after signing a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 18. The chances of that appear unpromising. In his New Year’s Eve televised message to the nation, Putin hailed the annexation of Crimea as a historic achievement and the rightful return of the peninsula’s people to the bosom of Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised New Year's address on Wednesday that the "return home" of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula to Moscow's control would forever remain an important chapter in Russia's history.

Putin is facing the biggest challenge of his 15-year rule as the Russian economy is sliding sharply into recession, hurt by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and falling prices for oil, Russia's chief export.

His comments are likely to strike a chord in a country where many people have always viewed Crimea as part of their homeland because of centuries of shared history and the region's mainly ethnic Russian population.

"Love for one's motherland is one of the most powerful and uplifting feelings. It manifested itself in full in the brotherly support to the people of Crimea and Sevastopol, when they resolutely decided to return home," Putin said. "This event will remain a very important epoch in domestic history forever."

Russia annexed Crimea in March following the ouster of a Russian-backed Ukrainian president in Kiev, triggering the deepest crisis in East-West relations since the end of the Cold War and prompting several waves of Western economic sanctions.

Ukraine and the West view the annexation as illegitimate.

Putin's popularity has surged at home thanks to his tough stance on the Ukraine crisis, but a deepening economic crisis threatens to undermine the stability and prosperity on which his approval ratings partly rest.

Next year, the Russian economy is projected to fall by around 4.5 percent if the average price of oil remains near $60 per barrel, according to the central bank.

"The (next) year will turn out the way we make it," Putin said. "We have to fulfill, implement everything we had planned for our own sake, for the sake of our children and the Motherland."

The New Year's address was broadcast to Russia's Far East regions many hours before Moscow, when it is typically shown just before midnight.

In a separate and apparently conciliatory gesture, Putin sent New Year's greetings to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing Putin's press service.

(Editing by Alexander Winning and Ralph Boulton)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Putin's New Year's message praises Crimea's 'return home'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today