Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russia’s president for a historic fourth term at a ceremony in the Kremlin on Monday, extending his almost two-decade rule by another six years.
Vladimir Putin inaugurated his fourth Kremlin term under the shadow of hugely strained ties with the West and a crackdown on the opposition.
Putin, who has ruled Russia for 18 years, will begin his next stint as leader two days after nearly 1,600 protesters including opposition leader Alexei Navalny were detained during nationwide rallies against him, with the European Union condemning “police brutality and mass arrests”.
“I consider it my duty and my life’s aim to do everything possible for Russia, for its present and for its future,” Putin said, with his hand on the Russian constitution.
Putin has struggled to revive an economy that crashed after Moscow was hit with Western sanctions over its annexation of Crimea in 2014, followed by a fall in global oil prices in 2016.
Despite this, his victory in the March election was never in question and the prospect of an inauguration in the Kremlin’s gilded Andreyevsky hall has generated little excitement.
This year Putin’s minders are reportedly planning a fairly low-key inauguration ceremony that will not include a lavish Kremlin reception in an apparent effort to eschew any bad publicity.
Russian TV showed Mr Putin, 65, leaving his Kremlin office and walking to the ceremony, down long corridors.
He then took a short ride in a new, Russian-made limousine, called Cortege, in the Kremlin compound. Previously he and his entourage have used foreign luxury cars.
In previous years a bigger motorcade drove the president across Moscow to the ceremony.
Oreshkin said Putin would stay on for the full term to carry out this task but Kalachev suggested the president could leave the Kremlin before he serves out the six years.