After taking over from Boris Yeltsin in 1999, and then being elected president in a landslide three months later, Vladimir Putin traveled to almost two dozen countries and a quarter of Russia’s eighty-nine regions to connect with ordinary Russians all within his first year in office. Putin’s travels inspired the idea of a rousing New Year’s Eve address to demonstrate the nation’s greatness and restore pride within the country. He would deliver his speech every hour at midnight throughout Russia’s eleven time zones. The idea was beautiful, but quickly abandoned as an impossible feat to accomplish in just one night. In the spring and summer of 2017, Nina Khrushcheva, great-granddaughter of Former Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and journalist Jeffrey Tayler wanted to find out how Putin’s idea of restoring pride to Russia has been playing out across the country. Over the course of a few months, they set out and traveled what would have been this New Year’s Eve trip.
Nina Khrushcheva is great-granddaughter of Former Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev and a professor of international affairs at The New School.
Michael McFaul, Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University.