Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russia’s president for a historic fourth term at a ceremony in the Kremlin on Monday. This has extended his almost two-decade rule by another six years.
Putin, in power since 1999, was predictably re-elected in Russia’s March presidential election with 76.7% of the vote.
After using his previous term to annex Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Putin has promised to use his fourth term to revitalise the country’s economy and improve Russian living standards.
At his inauguration address Putin acknowledged the huge responsibility he is faced with.
Vladimir Putin says: “At this moment of my inauguration to the duty of the President of Russia, I am particularly aware of my enormous responsibility to each of you, to our multi-ethnic people, to Russia, this country of great victories and achievements.”
Russian businesses are expecting wide-ranging reforms from the 65-year-old leader who has struggled to revive an economy that crashed after Moscow was hit with Western sanctions over its annexation of Crimea.
This was followed by a fall in global oil prices in 2016.
“I am sincerely grateful to Russian citizens, grateful for your solidarity, with the conviction that we can make a difference for the better. Once again, I want to say ‘thank you’. Thank you for the sincere support you, citizens of Russia, gave me in the presidential election.”
Putin begins his next stint as leader two days after nearly 1600 protesters including opposition leader Alexei Navalny were detained during nationwide rallies against him.
Observers expressed fears that their detentions could lead to a new wave of criminal cases with Putin’s return to the Kremlin.
But for some citizens Putin is a leader they could trust.
Putin has remained silent on the issue of his succession despite this being an inevitable concern.
The country’s constitution bars him from running again when his fourth term ends in 2024.