Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Against the background of the gilded walls and crystal chandeliers of the Kremlin’s Andreyevsky Hall, Vladimir Putin today swore on the Russian constitution, taking his fourth oath of office as president of Russia (picture 1, video).
Right after the national anthem, he gave a short speech in which he promised to “multiply the strength and prosperity of Russia”.
Noting that “We have revived pride in our fatherland,” Mr Putin added that in the past Russia had risen again from setbacks, “like a phoenix”.
Vladimir Putin has been in power for 18 years, either as president or as prime minister, so much so as that his adversaries call him “Tsar Putin”.
Two days ago, protests were held against “the tsar” in Moscow and other Russian cities. After some clashes with the police, thousands were arrested in 19 cities, in particular young people who accuse the Russian government of corruption and lack of democracy (picture 2).
Putin’s best-known opponent, Alexei Navalny, tried to hold a protest in central Moscow, and was briefly taken into custody (picture 3).
Some feared possible demonstrations today to coincide with the president’s oath of office, but so far, nothing has happened.
Putin was re-elected president last March with more than 76 per cent of the votes.