Moscow - Russian politician Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a third term
as Russia's president on Monday, as the former KGB spy cemented his
control over the world's largest country.
Putin took the oath of
office under heavy security in a glittering Kremlin ceremony, with at
least 3 000 senior government officials in attendance.
of Russia's Orthodox Church then blessed him and national security staff
gave Putin launch codes for the country's nuclear strike force.
a speech aired live on national television Putin called for national
sacrifice saying: "We will have to resolve tasks of a new level, a new
quality and scale. The coming years will be decisive for Russia's fate,
for decades to come."
As the country's new commander-in-chief, Putin inspected the Presidential Guards Regiment after the swearing-in ceremony.
in Moscow, Russian police on Monday arrested 120 people protesting
Putin's inauguration, in a second day of opposition demonstrations.
Military draft orders
the detained in a central district of the Russian capital were former
Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and poet Lev Rubenshteyn. All were
later released, a police statement said.
More than 100 of the
participants in the Moscow protest were military-age and received orders
to report to a Moscow army recruitment centre in coming days, Interfax
reported, citing police.
The situation in Moscow's streets on Monday "in general is calm", a police spokesperson said.
Monday arrests and military draft orders against opposition activists
followed massed anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow on Sunday, which saw
extended violence between protesters and police, and reportedly 436
Between 50 000 and 70 000 Putin opponents participated in the Sunday street rallies, independent media reports said.
on the recent wave of protests and arrests in the Russian capital,
Gennady Zyuganov, head of the opposition Communist Party told Interfax:
"Attempts to shut every one's mouth with a police baton are senseless
and extremely dangerous."
Putin served two terms as Russia's
president, from 2000-2008, before evacuating the office to allow his
political protégé, Dmitry Medvedev, to hold the job for a single term
from 2008-2012. Putin served as Prime Minister at the time.
One of Putin's first formal acts as President on Monday was to nominate Medvedev to be Russia's next Prime Minister.
amendments to Russia's constitution changed the term of office from
four to a current six years. Putin has said he would consider running
for a fourth term in office if Russians supported it.