Vladimir Putin inaugurated as Russian president

 

Vladimir Putin's speech as he is sworn in as Russia's president for the third time

Vladimir Putin has been inaugurated as president of Russia in a lavish ceremony in the capital, Moscow.

Mr Putin is returning to the presidency after an absence of four years in which he served as prime minister. The outgoing President, Dmitry Medvedev, was widely seen as an ally of Mr Putin.

He won a third term as president in controversial elections in March.

On Sunday, thousands of protesters opposed to the inauguration clashed with police in Moscow.

Mr Putin took the presidential oath at the Grand Kremlin Palace, in a hall that was once the throne room of the Russian tsars.

In a short speech he said Russia was "entering a new phase of national development".

"We will have to decide tasks of a new level, a new quality and scale. The coming years will be decisive for Russia's fate for decades to come."

Analysis

Vladimir Putin's return is a non-event in the sense that he never went away. Russia has been ruled by Putinism for the past 12 years.

It looks set for another dozen years of authoritarianism, cronyism, systematic corruption, and dangerous political drift at a time of mounting problems for Russia.

The demonstrations don't yet represent a serious challenge to Putin's political authority, let alone a revolutionary situation.

The opposition is neither large nor organised enough to force real change. But there is a widespread feeling that things cannot go on as they were.

It is especially strong among the professional classes. This is an important psychological turning-point, which could lead to a revolutionary situation if the system fails to introduce reforms.

The new Putin government will continue to be jittery about possible "Orange Revolution" scenarios.

Analysis was provided for bbcrussian.com

He said Mr Medvedev had given a new impulse to modernisation, and the "transformation" of Russia must continue.

He also spoke of the need to strengthen Russian democracy and constitutional rights.

"I consider it to be the meaning of my whole life and my obligation to serve my fatherland and our people," Mr Putin said.

"We will achieve our goals if we are a single, united people - if we hold our fatherland dear, strengthen Russian democracy, constitutional rights and freedoms."

The Kremlin audience included former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the widow of Russia's first president, Naina Yeltsin, and the four losing presidential candidates.

If he completes his six-year term, Mr Putin will be the longest serving Russian leader since Soviet supreme ruler Joseph Stalin, says the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow.

However, Mr Putin faces many problems; the political system he created has been showing cracks, economic growth is forecast to slow, and violence in the volatile North Caucasus continues, he adds.

The cost of Monday's ceremony is estimated at 20m roubles (£411,000; $664,000), half of it spent on commemorative medals for the guests.

In addition, a 12m-rouble banquet will be held in honour of President Putin.

Anti-Putin protests

In pictures

Vladimir Putin in the hall where the ceremony took place, 7 May 2012

How Mr Putin deals with the wave of opposition protests which broke out last December will be a key test of his administration, correspondents say.

There was a heavy police presence for the Kremlin ceremony on Monday and some anti-Putin protesters were detained.

Sunday's larger protest against the inauguration was peaceful until a small group of demonstrators tried to break through the lines of riot police.

Some protesters launched a sit-in by the police lines, refusing to leave unless the inauguration was cancelled.

They were also demanding an hour of TV airtime and new elections.

Prominent opposition activists Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov and Boris Nemtsov were among dozens detained. All three were later freed after being fined 1,000 roubles each, media reports said.

A rival demonstration in support of Mr Putin also took place in the city.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 131.

    Few people not Russians in the UK know Russia better than I -having owned property there, been married to a Russian,& traveled all over Russia,Ukraine,Poland ,Moldova over 23 years. Putin inherited a mess from Yeltsin when people weren't paid money for months,shops empty and turned it around bringing stability and prospects.He loves Russia more than money,& few Western Politicians can compare.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 130.

    Dear BBC<
    Bad piece.
    However wrote this piece is either a Russo-Phobe or doesn't do research. Likely both.
    Number 1 : Putin referred to his country as MOTHERLAND not Fatherland. (*trying to insert a subtle comparison to Nazi Germany for your dear readers ????)
    Number 2: His inauguration costs are extremely low. Not like for example George W. Bush's, his cost 42 MILLION DOLLARS !!!!!!!!!!!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 129.

    Congratulations to Tsar Vladimir: may the votes come in to keep you elected in perpetuity, may the Constitution grow to fulfill all your needs, and may those who seek to disrupt the unity you have pledge cease to trouble you always.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 128.

    Like him or not (not in my case) the majority of Russians voted for him. To me he is power-crazy and is setting himself up as a neo-Tsarist cult figure throned on a mountain of corruption. My advice to his opponents is to get your act together and form a credible opposition that can offer the Russian a less corrupt and less militaristic style of government. The cold war is over so try to move on

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 127.

    How many years until everything crumbles around Putin and the Russian people turn on him ? He's living the dream now but it never lasts when it's build on lies and corruption. I look forward to the day the Russians throw him out and he is a broken man.

 

Comments 5 of 131

 

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