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Putin Is Inaugurated, Asks, Will West ‘Look for a Path to Cooperation and Peace?’

Vladimir Putin was inaugurated today at the Grand Kremlin Palace. It is his fifth term, now elected to serve until 2030. Sen. Valentina Matvienko, who heads the Federation Council, said she expects Federation Council senators and State Duma deputies to have a full list of the proposed cabinet by May 15, for their deliberation and vote. Besides cabinet members, the mandatory reshuffle also affects other senior officials, such as the President’s chief-of-staff and press secretary, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, and presidential liaisons to Russian federal districts.

In his inauguration speech today, Putin stressed: “We are not rejecting dialogue with Western states. The choice is theirs: whether they intend to continue trying to contain Russia’s development, continue the policy of aggression, the relentless pressure they have been exerting on our country for years, or seek a path to cooperation and peace.” Such cooperation must include deliberations on issues of security and strategic stability, which need to be done with mutual respect, on equal terms, and, as Putin put it: “We are open to a conversation without arrogance, conceit or exceptionalism—a dialogue on an equal footing and with respect for each other’s interests.... Together with our partners in Eurasian integration and other sovereign development centers, we will continue to build a multipolar world and an equal and indivisible security system. In this complex, rapidly-changing world, we must strive to be self-sufficient and competitive, opening up new horizons for Russia, as we have done many times throughout our history.”

Of some note, he emphasized that, to ensure Russia’s unity and independence, Russia’s statehood and socio-political system must be flexible and resistant to challenges and threats. He thought it important that “We can see that the atmosphere in society has changed, and how much we now value reliability, responsibility, sincerity, integrity, generosity and courage.”

He concluded with a vow: “I will do everything its takes, everything I can, to justify your confidence in me, using the powers granted to me as the head of state by the Constitution. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that the success of this endeavor depend above all on our unity, integrity and our desire to serve our Fatherland, protect it, and work to the best of our abilities. …

“We stand as a united and great nation. Together we will overcome all obstacles and ensure that everything we conceive becomes reality. Together we win!”