Home News Isolated from the West, Putin projects domestic power at inauguration

Isolated from the West, Putin projects domestic power at inauguration


As Vladimir V. Putin was inaugurated for the fifth time as president on Tuesday in a grand ceremony and televised church service, the Russian leader again sought to portray his invasion of Ukraine as into a mission of religious justice that is part of “our country.” 1,000 years of history. “

Putting his hand on the red-bound Russian constitution, Putin took the oath of office, swearing to “respect and protect the rights and freedoms of mankind and citizens.” The 1993 document guarantees many of the democratic rights granted by Putin. Much of his 25-year reign has been spent in regression.

Mr Putin announced his fifth term in office in March rubber stamp election Western countries denounced it as a hoax. If he serves six years in his new term, he will become the longest-serving Russian leader since Empress Catherine in the 19th century.

“As long as we work together, we will definitely win!” Putin said at the end of his speech after taking the oath in the Kremlin’s gilded St. Andrew’s Hall.

Later, unlike the broadcast of Putin’s 2018 inauguration, state television broadcast a ceremony in the Kremlin’s Annunciation Cathedral, presided over by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I. He blessed Putin as the president stood and looked on, occasionally bowing and making the sign of the cross – a scene that underscored the Kremlin’s intensifying efforts to add a religious dimension to Putin’s rule.

“Heads of state sometimes have to make big and terrible decisions,” the patriarch said, seemingly trying to frame Putin’s invasion as justifiable before God. “If such decisions are not made, the consequences could be extremely dangerous for the people and the country. But these decisions are almost always about the victims.”

Putin provided no new policy details in his speech, although analysts expect he will make some changes to the composition of the government later this week.He didn’t say anything tactical nuclear weapons exercise His military made the announcement on Monday, a move that underscores Putin’s continued attempts to pressure the West to ease its support for Ukraine.

“We do not refuse dialogue with the West,” Putin said in his speech, renewing his call for talks that many critics see as tantamount to asking the West and Ukraine to capitulate.

“I would like to reiterate that negotiations including strategic stability issues are possible,” he added, referring to arms control talks with the United States that have been deadlocked since Russia launched its invasion more than two years ago. “But the premise is equality and respect for each other’s interests.”

Ukraine has been cut off from the West after more than two years since a full-scale invasion in 2022 Indicted by the International Criminal CourtMr. Putin is projecting more power at home than ever before.

“Our president has supreme power, more than the president of the United States and even more than the czar of Russia,” Gennady A. Zyuganov, the leader of Russia’s Communist Party, said as he arrived at the Kremlin ceremony. “A lot depends on him.”

More than 2,000 government officials, high-profile supporters and loyal stewards of Russia’s institutions in occupied Ukraine gathered to witness the tightly stage-managed inauguration.

According to Russian election officials, Putin received more than 87% of the vote in the scheduled election in March, with a turnout of nearly 80%.

As supporters gathered, they all shared a message that suggested Putin’s iron grip on their loyalty: He will keep Russia stable, strong and peaceful.

Among the first to arrive was American actor Steven Seagal, who said of Russia’s future: “With President Putin, it will be the best.”

Putin read the brief oath while standing next to Valery Zolkin, the head of the Constitutional Court, which has been a staunch supporter of Putin’s push to overturn democratic rights.

All legitimate opposition politicians were imprisoned. The most famous of them is Alexei A. Navalny, Suspicious cause of death February in a penal colony in the Arctic Circle.

Putin’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, condemned his inauguration on Tuesday. Videos posted on YouTube Tuesday morning,

“Our country is being led by a liar, a thief and a murderer,” said Ms. Navalnaya, who lives outside Russia. “But it’s definitely going to end.”

As in the past, state television broadcasts blended pomp and circumstance with a portrayal of Putin as a humble, skilled leader. Before the ceremony began, Putin stood up from his desk, casually flipped through a stack of papers, walked down a narrow corridor, passed uniformed guards, and boarded a Russian-made limousine that took him through the Kremlin courtyard. .

Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting.

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