President Vladimir Putin will be sworn in for a second term Friday in an
elaborate ceremony whose invited guests will include lawmakers and foreign
ambassadors -- but apparently not liberal politicians.
Igor Tabakov / MT
Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush in
the ornate Andreyevsky Hall in 2002.
The hour-long ceremony, which will be broadcast live on Channel One,
Rossia and TV Center, starts at noon in the Kremlin's ornate Andreyevsky
Hall, once the throne room of the tsar.
Putin will place his hand on a leather-bound copy of the Constitution
and swear to serve the people and defend Russia's independence.
He will then give a short acceptance speech in which he is expected
to outline his vision for his final term in office.
The inauguration has already attracted some criticism, with a leader
in the liberal Yabloko party accusing the Kremlin of using it to reward
Putin supporters and snub the opposition.
Among those not invited are Yabloko leaders Sergei
Mitrokhin and Sergei Ivanenko
and former presidential candidate Irina Khakamada, Mitrokhin said.
"The protocol department has its own perception of who should be
invited, and political loyalty probably plays a big role," Mitroikhin
told Ekho Moskvy radio.
A Kremlin spokeswoman denied the allegation Thursday.
Some 1,700 guests, including State Duma deputies, Federation Council
senators and foreign ambassadors, will gather in the Kremlin for the ceremony,
the spokeswoman said.
Putin also invited friends and former teachers to his first inauguration,
but the spokeswoman could not say who exactly he had invited to Friday's
"He can invite whoever he likes," she said.
Four years ago, Putin walked down a red carpet to the sound of trumpets
and a standing ovation.
Guests on Friday will be spread out in three halls, the Andreyevsky,
Vladimirsky and Alexandrovsky, and those not in the Andreyevsky will be
able to watch the ceremony on television monitors.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, in a message congratulating the
president on his inauguration, asked him "to help society overcome
poverty, crime, moral misery and ruinous vices."
The message was published in the weekly Argumenty i Fakty.
Following the ceremony, Putin will be given an 18-cannon salute, RIA-Novosti
Hopefully, media will avoid the mistake of one Russian newspaper, which,
when reporting the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, wrote that a crow instead
of a crown was placed on the monarch's head.
A correction published the next day proved even less flattering, saying
the tsar had had a cow stuck on top of him.
the original at
Presidential Elections 2004