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PHOTOS: Amid protests, Putin returns as Russia's president

Last updated on: May 7, 2012 19:31 IST

Amid protests, Putin returns as Russia's president

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Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to protect people's rights and freedoms in his new six-year tenure as Russian President, as he was sworn in for a record third term after winning polls marred by rigging allegations.

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Image: Vladimir Putin is sworn in as the new Russian president during a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 7
Photographs: Reuters

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Amid protests, Putin returns as Russia's president

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"I swear on the power invested in my as president of the Russian Federation to respect and protect the rights and freedom of its citizens," Putin said, his right hand placed on a red-bound copy of the Russian Constitution as he officially took over reins from Dimitry Medvedev.


Image: Putin walks in to attend the inauguration ceremony, with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi seen in the background, at the Kremlin in Moscow
Photographs: Reuters

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Amid protests, Putin returns as Russia's president

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In a brief but glittering ceremony, Putin, 59, hailed a "reborn" Russia and promised a new stage in its development.

Putin, who was president of the former Soviet republic from 2000-2008, returned to claim the presidency after an absence of four years in which he served as prime minister.


Image: New Russian President Vladimir Putin and former President Dmitry Medvedev take part in an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow
Photographs: Reuters
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Amid protests, Putin returns as Russia's president

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Putin was forced to step down in 2008 by a Constitutional clause that forbids more than two subsequent terms, but is silent on further presidential stints.

He then shifted to the post of prime minister after installing his protege Medvedev in the Kremlin, but remained by far Russia's most powerful politician.


Image: Russian riot police scuffle with protesters during the "march of the million" opposition protest in central Moscow May 6, 2012. Russian riot police beat protesters about the head with batons and detained 250 on Sunday after clashes broke out at a Moscow rally by thousands of people against Putin
Photographs: Reuters

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Amid protests, Putin returns as Russia's president

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Putin, a former KGB officer, won a third term as president in controversial elections in March which were marked by allegations of vote rigging in favour of his United Russia party.

The chorus of anti-Putin voices has increased in recent months, with several protests erupting out against his domination of the Russian polity for 12 years -- first as president and then as prime minister.


Image: Russian riot police detain a protester during the
Photographs: Reuters

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Amid protests, Putin returns as Russia's president

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On Sunday, thousands of protesters opposed to the inauguration clashed with police in Moscow. Prominent opposition activists Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov and Boris Nemtsov were among dozens detained.

If he completes his six-year term, Putin will be the longest serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.


Image: A protester wearing an anti-Putin tshirt takes part in the
Photographs: Reuters

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