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Statement on the Resignation of President Boris Yeltsin of Russia

December 31, 1999

Today President Yeltsin ends his historic tenure as Russia's first democratically elected President.

Under his leadership, since 1991, the Russian people have faced the unprecedented challenge of creating new institutions and building a new life after decades of corrosive Communist rule. His lasting achievement has been dismantling that Communist system and building new political institutions under democratically elected leaders within a constitutional framework. The fact that Prime Minister Putin assumes responsibility today as Acting President in accordance with the constitution is but the latest example of this achievement.

The relationship between the United States and Russia under President Yeltsin has produced genuine progress for both our people. Five thousand strategic nuclear weapons have been dismantled, and our nuclear weapons no longer are targeted at each other. We have worked together to eliminate nuclear weapons from the other states of the former Soviet Union. Russia has withdrawn its troops from the Baltic nations. Now its troops are serving alongside Americans to maintain the peace in the Balkans, and Russia was instrumental in achieving peace in Kosovo. We have also had our differences, such as on Chechnya. But President Yeltsin and my starting point has always been how Russia and America can work together to advance our common interests. In this spirit, I look forward to working with Acting President Putin as the Russian people begin the process of making the transition from one democratically elected President to another.

To President Yeltsin, let me convey my appreciation for the work we have done together. Hillary and I extend our warmest wishes to you and your family.

NOTE: The statement referred to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who became Acting President on President Yeltsin's resignation.

William J. Clinton, Statement on the Resignation of President Boris Yeltsin of Russia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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