Vladimir Putin sworn in for the 4th time as Russian president

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The New York Times describes it as more like a coronation than an inauguration.

Yesterday, Vladimir V. Putin took the oath of office for a fourth term as Russia’s president, in a ceremony staged in a gilded Kremlin hall once used to crown czars and replete with pageantry, highlighting his vast accumulation of authority after nearly two decades in power.

Standing in the ornately-decorated Andreyevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, with his hand on a gold-embossed copy of the constitution, Mr Putin swore to serve the Russian people, to safeguard rights and freedoms, and protect Russian sovereignty

Putin begins his fourth term buoyed by popular support but weighed down too by a costly confrontation with the West, a fragile economy and uncertainty about what happens when his term ends.

In a speech after the swearing-in ceremony, Mr Putin said that in the next six years Russia would prove a strong, muscular player on the world stage, backed by a powerful military, while pushing hard to improve life for its citizens at home.

“Taking up this post, I feel a colossal sense of responsibility,” Mr Putin told his audience of Russian officials and foreign dignitaries, among them former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

For the short journey from his office to the inauguration ceremony, Mr Putin travelled in a new Russian-made limousine.

From now on, the limousine will replace the fleet of imported vehicles Mr Putin uses, state television reported.

This means that the highly favored German made  Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard Pullman is officially out as the russian state car.

This is an obvious response from Russia to overcome western sanctions by reducing its dependence on imported goods and technology.

The powertrain, is a rumoured twin-turbocharged V12 with 850 horsepower i.e 634 kilowatts jointly developed by Porsche and Bosch with an assistance from Moscow-based Central Scientific Research Automobile & Engine Institute (NAMI). It has a Russian-designed nine-speed automatic gearbox.

About 200 of the new cars will be used in russian state’s convoys designed as minivan, Sport Utility Vehicles and smaller sedan. Civilians versions for wealthy Russians would also be made.

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