Putin sworn in: guests inside, protests outside

Vladimir Putin has been sworn in as Russian president for the fourth time in a Kremlin ceremony attended by 5,000 guests. In his address he spoke of a fresh start for the country and a free society - after roughly 1,600 protesters were arrested on the weekend. What can the world expect from Putin's fourth term?

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

The Russians love strong leaders

The demonstrations accompanying Putin's inauguration can't hide the fact that the broad masses love their president, The Daily Telegraph comments:

“The Russians like a hard-man leader and Mr Putin has certainly sought to live up to the billing. ... The protests are more a cry of anger from opponents than a sign of a groundswell of mass unrest with Mr Putin's leadership. The election may have been rigged but he remains popular with the people precisely because he is seen as someone able to restore national pride and confront Russia's enemies.”

Echo of Moscow (RU) /

Medevedev rewarded for his loyalty

Vladimir Putin has put forward Dmitry Medvedev for another term as prime minister. For Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow, this is understandable:

“In my view Medvedev was always the No. 1 deputy. I never saw him as a head of government but assumed that he was there to replace Putin if necessary. As far as Putin is concerned, that is more important. There are many people who could lead the government, both technically and politically. But for Putin what matters is that he has a person whom he can trust should his 'nuclear briefcase' end up in their hands. He loves loyalists, and Medvedev showed in 2011 [when he was president and proposed Putin as his successor] that he would be willing to return that 'nuculear briefcase' at the drop of a hat - although he could have resisted doing so.”

Večer (SI) /

Putin calls the shots on the world stage now

Večer focuses on the geopolitical context of Putin's fourth term:

“In its thousand-year history Russia had often survived difficult times and was like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Putin said. He's right - but new challenges await him. His US counterpart Donald Trump is tearing down the existing world order. Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping see this as their chance. And there's also North Korea, where the world powers will square off in the tussle for influence. The weak US under Trump and his new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offer Putin and his exceedingly experienced and hard-boiled Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov every chance to seize the initiative.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Campaigns instead of reforms

Iltalehti takes a look at the economic situation in Russia:

“Russia's economy needs more freedoms and new large companies, for example in the information technology sector. Russia continues to be technologically dependent on the West in many areas, and lags behind it considerably. The economy is also facing the same problems that are on the agenda of many Western states: a shrinking workforce in relation to pensioners and problems balancing the state budget. So comprehensive economic reforms are necessary. ... But because they could lead to a loss of power Putin is not tackling them. Large-scale, much-hyped campaigns are more likely.”

Duma (BG) /

This president cares about his people

Putin has announced that the equivalent of more than 132 billion euros will be invested in healthcare, education and infrastructure during his fourth term. The pro-Russian daily Duma is impressed:

“In view of these plans who can still accuse Putin of militarism, aggressiveness or a desire to dominate? Certainly, there will always be such people, but instead of understanding their heads are filled with rotten political dogmas and a narrow world view. One might imagine that Putin wants to improve healthcare and education because they are in a particularly bad state in today's Russia. But facts like the rising birthrate prove just the contrary. And even if there were problems, clearly they are now being prioritised by a Putin who is close to the people and not driven by militarism or aggression.”