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Putin thanks Santa

Vladimir Putin “Ded Moroz,” Grandfather Frost, thanked Russian Santa Claus on Thursday for helping him become president, nearly 22 years after he joined the Kremlin on December 31, 1999.

“My relationship with Grandpa Gel has always been good. I am grateful to him for his ability to speak to you in my capacity (as president), but I am even more grateful to the Russian people who trusted me for this job,” he said, when asked about his relationship with this number.

Vladimir Putin became Russia’s interim president after Boris Yeltsin’s resignation on December 31, 1999, and has since ruled the country’s fate. But Ded Moroz is giving away his gifts on New Year’s Eve.

“I hope that he will not be satisfied with giving gifts, but will implement the projects of the country and every citizen,” added Vladimir Putin, during his annual press conference.

A journalist from Veliky Ustyug, the city where the Russian legend Santa Claus lives, also asked him what he thought of a citizen who filed a complaint against “Ded Moroz”, accusing him of failing to fulfill his desires for 23 years.

“I can defend Ded Moroz and remind the complainant that Ded Moroz only grants wishes to boys and girls who have been good. Let (the complainant) analyze his behavior,” Mr. Putin replied.

Ded Moroz, a bearded character very similar to Santa Claus, distributes gifts to children on New Year’s Eve throughout the former Soviet Union. He is assisted by his granddaughter Snégourotchka, Snow Maiden.