Putin sworn in as Russia president

After taking the oath of office with his right hand on a red copy of Russia's constitution, which had been carried into the hall by goose-stepping Kremlin guards, Mr Putin stated his commitment to democracy. "We want to live and we will live in a democratic country where everyone has the freedom and opportunity to apply their talent and labour, their energy. We want to live and we will live in a successful Russia, which is respected in the world as a reliable, open, honest and predictable partner."
During his time in office, Mr Putin has overseen dramatic economic growth and restored a sense of national pride after the instability and humiliations that followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. He has also retreated from the democratic achievements of the 1990s and imposed a political system that has stifled dissent.
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, who leads the largest opposition faction in parliament, warned that the government is radicalising the protesters by refusing to take them seriously. "The government must understand that the split in society is getting wider, and the anger over unfair elections and the lack of normal dialogue is growing. In this situation, radicalism is inevitable," Mr Zyuganov said. "Any attempts to shut people's mouths with the help of a police baton are senseless and extremely dangerous."
Dmitry Medvedev, who served as Russia's president for the past four years as Mr Putin's junior partner, wrapped up his term with a short speech at the inauguration ceremony. "I worked as I promised in taking the oath of office: openly and honestly in the interests of the people, doing everything I could so that they would be free and would look towards the future with confidence," Mr Medvedev said.
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