With ‘don’t mention the war!’ the order of the day, it felt as if Vladimir Putin’s message to his people this year was haunted by the ghost of Basil Fawlty.
The New Year’s message is a Soviet and then Russian tradition dating back to the 1970s. It is watched widely across the country, sometimes with reverence, often with irony, but nonetheless something of a ritual observed almost regardless of class, location or political orientation.
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