Putin arrives at Kremlin as inauguration ceremony gets underway

Putin departed his presidential residence and arrived at the Kremlin complex in a Russian-made Aurus limousine, descending onto a red carpet lined with an honour guard. He waved briefly to supporters before disappearing into the palace’s gilded halls.

Under the gaze of elite Russian politicians, oligarchs and security services, the ceremonial inauguration of Vladimir Putin into his 5th term as president kicked off Tuesday at the ornate Grand Kremlin Palace.

Putin departed his presidential residence and arrived at the Kremlin complex in a Russian-made Aurus limousine, descending onto a red carpet lined with an honour guard. He waved briefly to supporters before disappearing into the palace’s gilded halls.

Inside the Andreevsky Hall, a vaulted, chandeliered chamber hosting the ritual, Kremlin guards marched the Russian tricolour flag and the presidential standard into position as dignitaries looked on. Former presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Mikhail Gorbachev were among the early arrivals joining regional elites and Putin’s inner circle.

In keeping with tradition, Putin will be presented with the reinstated symbols of Russian state power – a framed Constitution and a special “President of Russia” badge. He will then recite the oath of office with his right hand resting on a gilt-edged constitutional text.

The carefully choreographed ceremony carries deep symbolic importance as it inaugurates Putin into a new 6-year term achieved through an election dismissed as a sham by opposition figures. Now 70 years old, the former KGB officer is set to extend his reign until 2030, with loyalists already speculating he could again bend constitutional rules to stay in office even longer.

Outside the Kremlin’s thick red brick walls, protests denouncing Putin’s continued consolidation of one-man authoritarian rule were expected. Activist Alexei Navalny called the inauguration “a pathetic spectacle” staged to embellish Putin’s cult of personality and marginalize anti-war, pro-democracy voices.

Still, the circumstance looked likely to project a tableau of dominance for Putin, who has effectively neutralized domestic opposition while isolating Russia on the global stage through his invasion of Ukraine.