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Putin's New Year's Address Prompts Speculation About His Health

President Vladimir Putin's New Year's†video address on Monday night — his first such address in four years after returning to the presidency in May – has already become a hit on the Internet. But while some may have been impressed with the president's warm words, others were more focused on what they considered his strange voice and manner.†

Speculation took the blogosphere by storm following the address, with some Twitter users expressing concern for the president's health, while others dismissed his "strange" voice as a mere cold, and still others said the audio had simply been pre-recorded and added to the video later on, causing the two to be out of sync, Echo Moskvy reported Wednesday.

The video, which appeared online about 15 minutes after New Year's in the Far East, contains warm regards and wishes Russians health, love and happiness. In the message, Putin said that everyone was waiting for "luck and a little bit of a miracle" on New Year's night, and that "sometimes they do happen." He also called on Russians to be more sensitive, compassionate and generous in 2013, and thanked them for their hard work and trust in 2012.†

This marks Putin's 10th such holiday address in his political career, Lenta.ru said. His first was shown in 1999, immediately after Boris Yeltsin announced his resignation as president.†

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