Putin returns to Kremlin, opposition ready for challenge
Moscow (AsiaNews) - Everything is ready in Moscow for what the Russians call "inaugurazia", the inaugural ceremony with which Vladimir Putin returns to Kremlin for the third time in 12 years. Meanwhile, the opposition is preparing its own 'welcome' for the new president, with a protest rally in central Moscow on the eve of the scheduled oath.
The return of Vladimir Vladimirovich of Russia will have wide coverage with record numbers: There will be six television channels to broadcast the ceremony live, twice those who had followed the investiture of the president Dmitri Medvedev in 2008. The latter will not disappear in spite of low popularity among electorate and is expected to be officially appointed prime minister on May 8, again, in another role reversal with his former mentor, the Russian media have called this "castling" (from chess move in which the horse changes places with the king).
The arrival of the presidential motorcade at the Kremlin will shown from different points of view along the Moskva River, the center of the capital, where high TV camera cranes have already been placed, as well as shots from overflying helicopters. Putin will be sworn in and then deliver a speech in the famous hall of St. Andrew, the former throne room of the Grand Kremlin Palace. The same day, in the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, will celebrate a liturgy in his honor.
Security measures have been strengthened throughout the city center, because on May 6, the eve of the investiture, at least two anti-government demonstrations have been planned by the opposition movement which appears, however, weakened by the overwhelming victory of Putin in the March presidential elections and not yet capable of giving a shape to exert real pressure on the new government.
The first march, the so-called "march of the million", will be merged into Balotnaja square already the scene of demonstrations this winter, the first ever to question the authority of Putin. The second, not authorized by the city, should take place at the Manege Square, just beneath the Kremlin.
Putin returns as head of state, but of a country that has dramatically changed since his two previous mandates. According to Boris Dubin, an analyst with the Levada Center in Moscow, for the moment the Russians are ready to reconcile themselves with the new leadership, but the first half of Putin's term (around six years) will be crucial. "If in the next three years the major problems (corruption, justice and the gap between rich and poor, ed) are not be resolved - warns the expert - and if the economic crisis widens and the price of oil, is may cause serious tensions".