On January 29, 2006 ITAR-TASS reported, "President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russian Buddhists on the Sagaalgan holiday – the lunar New Year, the Kremlin press service said on Sunday. 'The tradition of celebrating the lunar New Year has been uniting for centuries people who profess Buddhism and everyone who sincerely respect the moral derivations of this religion. Sagaalgan marks the renewal of man and nature and symbolizes good hopes and expectations and the aspiration for openness, harmony and pure thoughts,' the congratulatory message runs. 'Buddhist values have been serving the noble goals of people’s unity, stronger mutual understanding, and cooperation for centuries. This is especially important now as the government and the society should jointly contain any forms of ethnic or religious intolerance,' the message runs."