In his shoes, wouldn’t you also be feeling pretty happy? In a year that killed Stanislav Markelov, Natalia Estemirova, Sergei Magnitsky, and kept Khodorkovsky on the show trial block, Putin could still celebrate Russia’s first (small) growth in population, approval and applause from eager and naive investors, and the satisfaction of knowing the presidency is pretty much there for his taking for another two terms.
A very happy New Year indeed. From Premier.gov.ru:
Question: Mr Putin, as Prime Minister of Russia, what would you like to tell TV viewers on New Year’s Eve?
Vladimir Putin: We always look forward to the New Year. We look forward to it because of our expectations for the New Year, if not with some miracle, at least with some change, change for the better.
At the same time, if life consisted only of sparkling champagne, fireworks and holidays, it would not bring full satisfaction either. As a rule, life brings satisfaction when it involves overcoming certain difficulties and making progress towards success through these difficulties.
My wish is that our difficulties be of an applied and practiced nature, that they are part of the road to success and that our successes are substantive, impressive and that they lead to improvement in every aspect of our lives.
Happy New Year!