Putin Begins His Next Presidential Term, Mulls Life Rule


Vladimir Putin began his fifth term at a gala Kremlin inauguration on Tuesday last week, embarking on another six years as leader of Russia after defeating his political opponents, launching a devastating war in Ukraine and concentrating all power in his hands.

At the official ceremony in the Kremlin Palace, Putin placed his hand on the Russian Constitution wrapped in monitor lizard skin and vowed to defend it as a crowd of hand-picked dignitaries looked on.

But in reality, Putin is tired of ceremony. He doesn’t understand why they are there if he has already decided to rule until death.

Since succeeding President Boris Yeltsin in the waning hours of 1999, Putin has transformed Russia from a country emerging from economic collapse to a pariah state. Following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine that has become Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II, Russia has been heavily sanctioned by the USA and West and is turning to other regimes like Iran and North Korea for support.

Already in office for nearly a quarter-century and the longest-serving Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin, Putin’s new term doesn’t expire until 2030, when he will be constitutionally eligible to run again.

In a heavily choreographed performance, Putin was pictured in his office looking at his papers before walking along the Kremlin’s long corridors, pausing at one point to look at a painting, on the way to his inauguration.

Putin used the the first moments of his fifth term to thank the “heroes” of his war in Ukraine and criticise the West.

He was greeted with applause when he entered the hall with more than one thousand invited guests. They included all the same senior members of the Russian government as at previous inauguration ceremonies.

Neither the U.S., U.K. nor German Ambassadors attended.

After that, Putin reviewed the presidential regiment in the Kremlin’s Cathedral Square in a light drizzle and then walked into nearby Annunciation Cathedral for a blessing from Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Kirill reminded Putin that the head of state sometimes “has to take fateful and formidable decisions” that can lead to victims, an apparent reference to the many casualties in Ukraine — a war the church has endorsed.

Apparently, Putin intends to rule until death. Patriarch Kirill wished this for him: “so that the end of the century will mean the end of your stay in power.”

The logic of his words is as follows: “If there is Putin, there is Russia, if there is no Putin, there is no Russia.” And then – even a flood…

The question now is what the 71-year-old Putin will do over the course of another six years in the Kremlin, both at home and abroad?

Ukraine has brought the battle to Russian soil through drone and missile attacks, especially in border regions. In a speech in February, 2022, Putin vowed to fulfill Moscow’s goals in Ukraine, but war is continued.

Ukraine is bravely defending its land, and the losses of the Russian army are only increasing every day.

The Russian defense industry is not able to provide the Russian army with a large amount of military equipment and ammunition due to the high level of corruption in the army.

Last month, Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov — a protege of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu — was detained on charges of bribery amid reports of rampant corruption. Some analysts have suggested Shoigu could become a victim of the government reshuffle, with the war still raging.

At home, Putin’s popularity is closely tied to living standards for ordinary Russians.

But the main thing is that at every official inauguration ceremony, Putin deceives Russian citizens. Before the elections, Kremlin propaganda created the illusion that the war would end soon. But that did not happen.

The war will continue as long as Putin “remains in power.” And so – every time. After the last elections, Russians were deceived with the pension reform.

Putin on Tuesday once again promised Russians a prosperous future, but since the invasion of Ukraine, many have seen the cost of living rise.

Putin began his term in 2018 by promising to get Russia into the top five global economies, vowing it should be “modern and dynamic.” Instead, Russia’s economy has pivoted to a war footing, and authorities are spending record amounts on defense.

Analysts say now that Putin has secured another six years in power, the government take the unpopular steps of raising taxes to fund the war and pressure more men to join the military and died in Ukraine.

After full scale invasion in Ukraine, Putin have cracked down on any form of dissent in Russia with a ferocity not seen since Soviet times.

Putin indicated Tuesday that he would continue to silence critics.

Putin enters his fifth term with practically no opposition inside the country.

Laws have been enacted that threaten long prison terms for anyone who discredits the military. The Kremlin also targets independent media, rights groups, and others.

His greatest political foe, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, died in an Arctic penal colony in February, 2024. Other prominent critics have either been imprisoned or have fled the country, and even some of his opponents abroad fear for their security.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, released a video ahead of the inauguration in which she said Putin’s promises “are not only empty, they are false.” Russia, she said, is “ruled by a liar, a thief and a murderer.”

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