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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Year Messages Varied

After crossing swords at last month's Congress, President Boris Yeltsin and Ruslan Khasbulatov have clashed again, this time in conflicting New Year's addresses.

In a nationally televised speech, the president held out hope for better times in 1993 and praised Russians for putting up with the economic hardship of the first year of market reforms.

Yeltsin's generally optimistic tone contrasted greatly with the New Year's speech of his arch-rival, parliament speaker Khasbulatov, who called 1992 a year of disappointment and made a scathing attack on the reformist gov-ernment.

The president, flanked by the white, blue and red Russian tricolor and a New Year tree, called his first year of full-blooded reform "the most difficult of my entire life".

But he said that, although 1993 would also be a "difficult" year, the hardest of times had passed. Yeltsin also promised Russians he would do everything to fight crime so they could walk safely on the streets.

The president acknowledged that he had misjudged the price rises his policies would bring, and praised his countrymen for bearing the brunt of inflation that has soared above 2, 000 percent in the past year.

"I extend to you, the citizens of Russia, my deepest gratitude for the remarkable tenacity you have shown in 1992, for the way you have carried on your shoulders all the burdens of the past year", Yeltsin said.

Yeltsin also sounded a note of defi-ance toward opponents who handed him his greatest political defeat of 1992 - the removal of 36-year-old Yegor Gaidar as acting prime minister in December

"We should thank Yegor Timurovich Gaidar, a man who dared to undertake unpopular steps together with the president in this difficult period", Yeltsin said.

"I am sure he will return to some high post in Russia".

But Khasbulatov, in his address, dampened any speculation of a quick return to power for Gaidar, who was replaced by Viktor Chernomyrdin at December's session of the Congress of People's Deputies.

"The economy is practically out of control - the Gaidar government did not do its job", he said.

Khasbulatov said the year had begun with great hopes for economic and political reforms and for strength-ening the Commonwealth of Indepen-dent States.

"Unfortunately, there is a great deal to be disappointed about", he said. "Latin Americanization has taken place, in its Colombian version, where the state and administrative structures merge with mafia-style groups".