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The largest country in the world, Russia,
The largest country in the world, Russia, has seen in the New Year 11 times, from Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.

Most Russians celebrate New Year at home with family or friends, cracking open bottles of champagne on the first chime of the clock at midnight, while sitting at a table laden with Russian delicacies and salads.

Russia's New Year holidays last until January 10.

Some teenagers enjoy seeing in the New Year in night clubs and restaurants although closer to midnight huge crowds gather in the main squares of cities and towns across Russia.

Anadyr, the capital of the relatively unknown Chukotka Autonomous Region, was first to mark 2009 at 12:00 GMT. Chukotka, Russia's most northeasterly region, is most famous for its former governor, Chelsea FC owner and billionaire, Roman Abramovich.

The main city to start the New Year celebrations off (at 14:00 GMT) was Vladivostok at a chilly minus 15 degree Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) on in Russia's Far East. Thousands of people gathered in the city's main square where revelers were entertained with two skating rinks, an ice slide and a labyrinth, all topped off with a firework display.

A couple of hours later (16:00 GMT), the Siberian city of Irkutsk started their celebrations not only on the city's main square, but also on Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake. A firework display on the frozen lake was greeted by surprisingly warm temperatures of minus 25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit), as well as under it where a diving school annually gathers to mark New Year.

Russia's two largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, always celebrate New Year at the same time (21:00 GMT). Five minutes before midnight in the capital, President Dmitry Medvedev addressed the Russian nation in a live televised broadcast to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Large screens were erected around Moscow's famous Red Square and other parts of the city so that the gathering crowds could hear the presidential address.

Every year thousands of people gather in Red Square to see in the New Year, although the last two years have been alcohol-free.

This year an ice rink was built for Muscovites and tourists who met the New Year in temperatures of minus 4 degrees Celsius (24 Fahrenheit) and light snow; however, the people of St. Petersburg saw heavy snow and temperatures of minus - 8 Celsius (17.6 Fahrenheit).

Russia's last city to bring in the New Year, nine hours after Vladivostok, was Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, which celebrated in a chilly minus 10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit).

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