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Caviar and salute: Russia’s inauguration splendor

Published time: May 07, 2012 08:11
Edited time: May 07, 2012 21:20
May 7, 2012. President-elect Vladimir Putin, center, enters St Andrew Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace during the inauguration ceremony (RIA Novosti / Alexsey Druginyn)

May 7, 2012. President-elect Vladimir Putin, center, enters St Andrew Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace during the inauguration ceremony (RIA Novosti / Alexsey Druginyn)

Vladimir Putin is an inauguration champion – he has played the main role in the performance three times out of six to have taken place in modern history.

The inauguration ceremony took place in the Grand Kremlin Palace and lasted for around 40 minutes.

Six federal TV channels broadcasted it live. Cranes with video cameras have been installed near the Kremlin to film the presidential motorcade driving.

Around 2,000 people have been invited to the event. RT presenter Bill Dod is among those invited.

The guests were not supposed to wear white ties or evening gowns: just smart dresses and dark suits. Only those who received an invitation card could get access – there was no chance to buy a ticket.

Among those invited were members of upper and lower houses of the Russian parliament, Constitutional Court judges, government officials, federal authorities and representatives of the diplomatic corps.

Heads of foreign states have never been invited according to tradition.

The event started with flag bearers entering magnificent Andreyevsky Hall of the palace, where the inauguration took place, carrying the Russian flag, the Constitution and the presidential standard and insignia. The chairman of the Constitutional Court placed them on the tribune.

At 11:55 am the president-elect arrived to the Kremlin through the gates of the Spasskaya Tower and walked through the splendid halls of the Grand Kremlin Palace with Kremlin clocks chiming in the background.

Then the chairman of the Constitutional Court requested the newly-elected head of the state to take the oath of office. With the right hand on the Russian Constitution Vladimir Putin swore allegiance to the Russian people.

The text of the oath reads as follows: "In the exercise of the powers of the President of the Russian Federation I vow to respect and uphold the rights and freedoms of the individual and citizen, observe and protect the Constitution of the Russian Federation, defend the sovereignty, independence, security, and integrity of the state, and serve the people in good faith."

Afterwards the head of the Constitutional Court handed Putin attributes of power and declared that a new president had been sworn into office. This was followed by the national anthem of the Russian Federation and the presidential standard was raised above the residence in the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin will then read the inaugural address.

In the final stage of the grand ceremony the new head of state came out to the Cathedral Square, one of the most landmark sites of the Kremlin, where he observed a parade by the presidential regiment and the Ivan the Great bell tower chimed its bells.

Meanwhile the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has held a special service in Kremlin's Annunciation Cathedral, which used to be private church of the Muscovite monarchs.

The ceremony is going to be followed by a banquet with a ritzy menu. The restaurant company which won the tender suggested to arrange two receptions (the second to take place on Russia’s National Day on June 12) costing more than $800,000.

A tender document for the upcoming ceremony was published on the Russian government purchasing agency's website. It reveals that those invited will enjoy a fine dinner. For starters, guests will have scallops with vegetable pancakes and mushroom sauce, smoked halibut with lettuce, fried duck roll with rosemary and Cornelian cherry sauce, and seafood salad with avocado puree.

Hot snacks include fried King Kamchatka crab with mini-ratatouille and coconut milk cappuccino. For the main course the event participants may be offered sturgeon steak stuffed with vegetables in champagne sauce or rack of lamb rack with eggplant lasagne.

As for drinks, the party attendees will be able to taste Kremlin Award premium vodka. The new beverage – made of the best grains and ethanol brands – was developed to be served at official ceremonies. Those who prefer lighter drinks may fill their glasses with Abrau Durso collection sparkling wine or Pinot Aligote Selection Chateau le Grand Vostock (white wine).

The presidency was established in Russia 20 years ago, with the introduction of the Law on the President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Boris Yeltsin became the first Russian president and was elected twice, in 1991 and in 1996.

Putin became Russian president in 2000, and was re-elected in 2004. He did not run for the post in 2008 as the Constitution does not permit one person to hold the office for more than two times in succession. He was appointed prime minister in 2008 and occupied the post for four years.

It is the first time that a Russian president will serve for six years, not four as previously, due to the recent changes made to the Constitution.

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