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Medvedev swears in as president

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Moscow, May 7, IRNA
Dmitry Medvedev was sworn in on Wednesday as Russia's third president since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The inauguration ceremony was held in the Kremlin in front of 2,400 guests.

Medvedev, 42, won a landslide victory in the March elections.

But while Vladimir Putin handed over the reigns of power, his central role in the ceremony reflected the part he has to play in Russia's future.

Putin, 55, was barred by the constitution to run for a third consecutive term in the March polls.

However, analysts suggest he will remain a pivotal figure in Medvedev's administration after he assumes his new post of prime minister, possibly as early as Thursday.

The inauguration ceremony was held in the Kremlin's magnificent St Andrew's Hall.

It began with an honour guard bringing in the symbols of the presidential office.

Putin then made a short speech, describing the handover of power as "a hugely important stage" for Russia.

"It's extremely important to continue the course that has already been taken and has justified itself," Putin said.

Medvedev then took an oath on a red-bound copy of the Russian constitution.

In a brief speech, he pledged to work for "a better" Russia, ensuring "civil and economic freedom".

"Human rights and freedoms are deemed of the highest value for our society and they determine the meaning and content of all state activity," he said.

Medvedev also stressed he would "pay special attention to the fundamental role of the law".


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