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A decade of democracy
Yeltsin bows out
'Take care of Russia'

On the last day of the 20th Century Boris Yeltsin shocked the world by resigning from the Russian presidency. He handed the reins of power to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who would serve as acting president for three months prior to elections. Yeltsin's move caught his opponents off guard, and provided Putin with an ideal springboard for his election campaign. With his coat on, ready to leave the Kremlin for the last time as president, Yeltsin told his chosen successor to "take care of Russia".

Video The BBC’s Allan Little, 31 December 1999: "The master of the well-timed surprise"
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