Russia swears in Medvedev as new leader

Updated: 2008-05-07 17:12

MOSCOW - Dmitry Medvedev was sworn in as president in a solemn ceremony in the Kremlin's throne room on Wednesday.

Medvedev attends a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow May 6, 2008. Dmitry Medvedev was sworn in as president in a solemn ceremony in the Kremlin's throne room on Wednesday. [Agencies]

Medvedev, a 42-year-old former corporate lawyer and longtime Putin ally, placed his hand on a red, leather-bound copy of the Russian constitution to take the oath of office before 2,000 invited guests.

Minutes earlier, Putin had entered the Kremlin alone and thanked the Russian people for their trust and support, encouraging them to support Medvedev and wishing him well.

Putin named Medvedev as his preferred successor last December, ensuring his victory in the March polls.

The inauguration ceremony in the Grand Kremlin Palace broadly followed the pattern set in 2000, when Putin was sworn in, allowing officials to stress continuity and the smooth transition of power.

The constitution, adopted under Yeltsin, gives the president strong powers, including the right to define Russia's foreign and domestic policy, appoint key ministers and control key security and defence agencies.

Putin, in his time in office, further boosted Kremlin power by assuming the right to name hitherto elected regional leaders and taking control of parliament.

Putin has said he sees no problem working with Medvedev with whom he shares common views on Russia's future.

Putin, who has presided over eight years of uninterrupted economic growth, has said he will focus on making Russia one of the top seven global economies by 2020. He has promised not to seek any extra powers in his new job.

Eight years ago, the departing Yeltsin left Putin a pen with which he used to sign laws as a symbol of a handover of power. Putin said in a newspaper interview last month, he would take the historic pen with him rather than leave it to Medvedev.

Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours