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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Party A Birthday Farewell

APMore than 10,000 activists with youth group Nashi marching on Taras Shevchenko Naberezhnaya on Sunday to celebrate President Vladimir Putin's 55th birthday. The group also prepared a large card and giant blanket for Putin.
Vladimir Putin celebrated his 55th birthday with a farewell Kremlin party, while Nashi offered the president a huge card, a giant blanket and prayers from all Moscow churches.

Putin said Saturday at a CIS summit in Dushanbe that he would throw the party in the Kremlin this year because it was his last chance as president.

"You know, as a rule I don't hold any parties, but this year is an exception," Putin told reporters, Itar-Tass reported. "With my presidential term expiring, I've invited the permanent members of the Russian Security Council and the leadership of the Russian armed forces, including the commanders of military districts and branches of troops, to come to the Kremlin on Sunday."

Footage of the party aired Sunday on NTV showed Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, walking into the Kremlin's Yekaterininsky Hall to the applause of guests, most of whom wore military uniforms.

Putin gave a short speech about the need to build up the military's might.

Among those shown on television were First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and new Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov.

Putin has usually celebrated his birthdays with a small circle of friends, often in his native St. Petersburg. He marked his 50th birthday at a CIS summit in Chisinau, Moldova.

On Sunday afternoon, more than 10,000 activists from the pro-Putin youth group Nashi converged on Taras Shevchenko Naberezhnaya under the slogan "Congratulate the President, Congratulate the Country."

Nashi also placed more than 1,000 Russian flags on Moscow's tallest buildings, including Moscow State University and the Ukraina hotel, and made a giant birthday card for well-wishers to sign, Itar-Tass reported. The group's main gift was a blanket measuring 220 meters by 4 meters with ornaments representing Russia's various ethnic groups.

"Nashi wants this blanket to be a symbol of the multinational and grand Russia," Nashi spokeswoman Kristina Potupchik said, Itar-Tass reported.

Nashi also ordered prayers for Putin's health at all major churches in Moscow.