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Saturday, 1 January, 2000, 00:35 GMT
Moscow mixes a merry millennium
Red Square
Hundreds of fireworks lit up the famous spires of Red Square
An estimated one million people crammed into Moscow's vast Red Square to greet the new millennium with cheers and the explosion of thousands of fireworks.

Relatively little in the way of official celebrations had been planned, but undeterred many Muscovites brought their own fireworks, along with large quantities of vodka - purely to keep out the winter chill of course.

A light snowfall over the floodlit spires of the Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral added to create the perfect picture-postcard setting.

All eyes were on the clock face of the Saviour's Tower as it counted down the final moments of the 20th century.

In the city's Izmailovo Park the Russian Winter Festival promised to keep revellers entertained into the early hours with traditional songs and music, folk games, sleigh rides and dancing round the New Year tree.

Bug bites

Muscovites are looking forward to better times
By the time the new year reached Moscow it had already swept across 10 of Russia's 11 timezones with no sign of the feared Millennium Bug hitting any vital systems.

Officials at the Strategic Rocket Forces department told reporters that no problems had been encountered with Russia's nuclear missile arsenal.

"Everything is okay. Everything is as it was. There are no failures, everything is working," an officer working at the main command bunker is quoted as saying.

Dominating the celebrations, however, was the news of President Boris Yeltsin's stunning resignation and the transfer of power to his prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

After years of economic hardship many Russians will be hoping that the better times lie ahead in a new millennium under a new leadership.

See also:

31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
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