Tue, May 08, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Putin sworn in for fourth term

AP, MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, takes the oath of office yesterday during his inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, in a pool photograph released by Sputnik.

Photo: Reuters

Vladimir Putin yesterday took the oath of office for his fourth term as Russian president, promising to pursue an economic agenda that would boost living standards across the country.

In a ceremony in an ornate Kremlin hall in Moscow, Putin said improving Russia’s economy following a recession partly linked to international sanctions would be a primary goal of his next six-year term.

“Now, we must use all existing possibilities, first of all for resolving internal urgent tasks of development, for economic and technological breakthroughs, for raising competitiveness in those spheres that determine the future,” he told thousands of guests standing in the elaborate Andreevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace and two adjacent halls.

“A new quality of life, well-being, security and people’s health — that’s what’s primary today,” he said.

Although Putin has restored Russia’s prominence on the world stage through military actions, he has been criticized for inadequate efforts to diversify Russia’s economy away from its dependence on oil and gas exports, and to develop the country’s manufacturing sector.

“Russia should be modern and dynamic; it should be ready to accept the call of the times,” he said.

In his speech, he made only brief reference to Russia’s international role, saying: “Russia is a strong, active, influential participant in international life. The security and defense capability of the country is reliably ensured. We will give these matters the necessary constant attention.”

He acknowledged that the challenges facing Russia were formidable, “but we all remember well that, for more than a thousand years of history, Russia has often faced epochs of turmoil and trials, and has always revived as a phoenix, reached heights that others could not.”

Putin held onto the presidency in the March election, when he won 77 percent of the vote in a poll where he had no serious challengers.

The 65-year-old Putin has effectively been the leader of Russia for all of the 21st century. He stepped down from the presidency in 2008 because of term limits, but was named prime minister and continued to steer the country until he returned as president in 2012.

The Russian constitution bars him from running again when his new terms ends in 2024.

Yesterday’s ceremony was covered in assiduous detail on state television, showing Putin working at his desk in his shirt sleeves, then donning a suit coat to begin a long walk through the corridors of the Kremlin’s Senate building, then boarding a limousine for a short drive to the Grand Kremlin Palace.

Thousands of guests stood in the three halls for the inauguration.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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