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Relations with West, national resilience and forging victory: Key takeaways from Putin’s inauguration

The Russian president has stressed that the nation must be unyielding in the face of internal and external challenges

Russian President Vladimir Putin was officially sworn into office for a fifth term on Tuesday. In his inaugural address at the Kremlin, Putin vowed to protect the nation’s interests amid the confrontation with the West over the Ukraine conflict.

Here are the key points from the ceremony and Putin’s speech, as the Russian leader begins his six-year term.

Ceremony largely shunned by the West

The inauguration took place in the lavish Kremlin Grand Palace in the heart of Moscow, and was attended by hundreds of high-ranking guests, including top government officials and foreign ambassadors.

Despite strained relations, Russia invited envoys from Western nations to the inauguration. Only a few, however, including envoys from France, Hungary, and Slovakia, actually attended. Representatives from the US, EU, UK, and Canada were absent from the ceremony.

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German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Putin’s inauguration has caused a rift among EU nations. Those who chose to attend argued that they wanted to “keep channels of communication [with Russia] open.” 

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Russia does not hold inaugurations and other ceremonies “in order to report to the West,” but rather to ensure the country’s prosperity. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that Moscow would not retaliate against nations that snubbed the event.

National priorities

Delivering his inauguration address, Putin stated that Russia must be self-sufficient and competitive, while promoting a system of governance that is resilient and flexible enough to adapt to new conditions. Preserving centuries-old values and traditions is another important goal, he added.

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The country’s success in dealing with internal and external problems depends largely on whether it remains united and has a “common desire to benefit the motherland,” the president stressed.

“We are a united and great people, and together we will overcome all obstacles and realize all our plans. Let’s win together,” Putin stated.

Relations with the West

Moscow is ready to build friendly ties with global nations that see Russia as “a reliable and honest partner,” Putin said. According to the Russian president, this is also true when it comes to relations with the West.

“We don’t refuse dialogue with Western nations. The ball is in their court,” Putin insisted, adding that future ties depend on whether the West persists with its “aggressive policies” and its attempts to deter and pressure Moscow.

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“A conversation, including on issues of security and strategic stability, is possible. But not from a position of strength, without any arrogance, conceit and [feeling] of personal exclusivity, but only on equal terms, with respect for each other’s interests,” the Russian leader stated.

Impending cabinet reshuffle

As required by the Russian Constitution, the national government resigned shortly after the inauguration. However, Putin has signed a law ordering the current government to continue its work until a new one is formed.

The process is expected to be swift, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president could announce his choice of prime minister as early as Tuesday. The post is currently held by Mikhail Mishustin, who has served in this capacity since 2020.

Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said she expects lawmakers to have a full list of the proposed cabinet next week.

May 07, 2024 at 05:34PM

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