— Boris Yeltsin 1st President of Russia and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR 1931 - 2007
Variant translation: Russian must enter the new millennium with new politicians, new faces, new intelligent and energetic people...
As quoted in The 100 Greatest Heroes (2003) p. 60 by Harry Paul Jeffers
1990s, Farewell speech (1999)
Kontext: Today I am turning to you for the last time with New Year's greetings. But that's not all. Today I am turning to you for the last time as president of Russia.
I have made a decision.
I thought long and hard over it. Today, on the last day of the departing century, I am resigning.
I have heard many times that "Yeltsin will hang onto power by any means, he won't give it to anyone." That's a lie.
But that's not the point. I have always said that I would not depart one bit from the constitution. That Duma elections should take place in the constitutionally established terms. That was done. And I also wanted presidential elections to take place on time — in June 2000. This was very important for Russia. We are creating a very important precedent of a civilized, voluntary transfer of power, power from one president of Russia to another, newly elected one.
And still, I made a different decision. I am leaving. I am leaving earlier than the set term.
I have understood that it was necessary for me to do this. Russia must enter the new millennium with new politicians, with new faces, with new, smart, strong, energetic people.
And we who have been in power for many years already, we must go.
Seeing with what hope and faith people voted in the Duma elections for a new generation of politicians, I understood that I have completed the main thing of my life. Already, Russia will never return to the past. Now, Russia will always move only forward.