‘Not everyone seems to be on the New 12 months’s desk now’: Putin laments the virus’s grip on Russia.

‘Not everyone is at the New Year’s table now’: Putin laments the virus’s grip on Russia.


With parks, ice-rinks, bars and different standard venues for New 12 months’s Eve in Moscow ordered to close down earlier than midnight on Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia saved one vacation custom alive by delivering a televised deal with to the nation.

Lamenting {that a} “harmful new virus has turned the wrong way up our normal life, work and research,” Mr. Putin struck an unusually somber tone in his annual message, first broadcast to residents in Russia’s easternmost areas on the Pacific, which greeted the beginning of the brand new 12 months 9 hours forward of Moscow.

Russians normally rejoice New 12 months’s Eve, a time of joyous festivities that mix gift-giving, feasting and heavy consuming, with boisterous gatherings of household and buddies. However this 12 months, Mr. Putin reminded his nation, “not everyone seems to be on the New 12 months’s desk now. There are nonetheless many individuals within the hospital.”

Extra upbeat was Aleksei Navalny, the opposition chief who survived a nerve agent assault in August throughout a go to to Siberia, an assault that he believes was ordered by Mr. Putin. He posted a picture of himself and his family, all now in Germany, on Instagram and famous that, regardless of all of the unhealthy information in 2020, “I used to be fortunate and this 12 months was not unhealthy for me.” He added: “The prospects for 2021 are additionally attention-grabbing.”

To assist include the virus, Moscow’s metropolis authorities ordered Crimson Sq. and different gathering locations closed hours earlier than midnight, however the Russian capital and different cities throughout the huge nation nonetheless deliberate extravagant firework shows. Beginning in Vladivostok, a port metropolis on the Pacific, exploding rockets lit up the skies throughout Russia as the brand new 12 months rolled west towards Kaliningrad, Russia’s westernmost area on the Baltic Sea.

The streets of central Moscow, normally jammed and buzzing on New 12 months’s Eve, have been eerily quiet Thursday. Eating places and bars have been ordered to shut at 11 p.m. Mr. Putin — in an try at a present to the individuals after a protracted 12 months — had referred to as on Russia’s regional governors to make Thursday a time without work work, which they rapidly did. Consequently, many Muscovites left town early, quite than ready for Jan 1., usually the beginning of a protracted nationwide vacation.

“Sadly, the epidemic has not but been utterly stopped. The battle in opposition to it doesn’t cease for a minute,” Mr. Putin stated in his tv deal with. “Immediately it is vitally vital to consider in ourselves, to not retreat within the face of difficulties, to protect our unity, that is the idea of our widespread success sooner or later.”





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