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Official website of the President of Russia

Transcripts   /

TV Address to the Citizens of Russia

March 24, 2000

Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, my fellow Russians,

The day after tomorrow the country will choose its President. It was my duty under the Constitution to make sure that the elections are held on the fixed date and in accordance with the law. As acting head of state I also had to organise the management of the country during this period. I think that at this stage I can say that I have fulfilled my duty to the Constitution and the people of Russia. On the eve of a key event in the life of the nation I appeal to you, my fellow citizens, to do your constitutional duty and come to the polls on Sunday and name the President of the new Russia.

Today is the last day of the election campaign. The past three months have shown that in spite of all the difficulties connected with events in the North Caucasus and the actions of our army, society has become more united in the face of a common danger, we have grown stronger. But while our soldiers were shedding blood in the North Caucasus, a lot of lies were circulating in this country and beyond. I think that whoever was trying to use these difficulties against the state and for whatever purpose, has failed. But let God be their judge.

And in this connection I think I should remind you that on March 26 we are electing not only the head of state but also appointing the Supreme Commander because the President, by virtue of his office, is simultaneously the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Russia is one of the biggest countries in the world and a strong nuclear power. This is something that not only our friends remember.

Let me repeat that we are electing the President, whose duty is to ensure economic recovery, restore the country’s prestige and leading role in the world, make Russia governable again, and deliver stability and prosperity to everyone.

Dear friends, this time the polling day happens to be the day when we are switching to summer time. The coincidence appears to be significant and even symbolic. We are putting our clock forward. The old time is over. The election day will be our reference point for a new time count. But the choice, of course, rests with you. Under the Constitution, power rests solely with the Russian people. And if somebody says that there is no need to go to the polls, then that person is trying to deprive the people of government. But we know that the Russian people cannot be easily misled.

All I am urging you and asking you to do is come to the polling stations and cast your votes. Do some heart-searching and make your choice.

Thank you.

March 24, 2000