Yesterday Vladimir Putin was inaugurated as the Russian president for a second time. About 1,700 people were invited to attend the inauguration ceremony, which took place in the Grand Kremlin Palace.
At 11 AM, all the places along the red carpet in the Grand Kremlin Palace were occupied in anticipation of Vladimir Putin's arrival.
To kill the time, the guests gathered into groups. Diplomats, deputies, senators, and major businessmen discussed their current affairs.
A group of ministers rejoiced at the prospect of regaining their posts in the government.
Along with famous politicians, diplomats, businessmen and artistic figures, common people - teachers, scientists, doctors and engineers - whom the president met during his private trips across the country were invited to the ceremony as well. They looked very excited.
The president entered the Palace at midday sharp with the Spassky Tower clock chiming the hour.
During the ceremony, which lasted no more than 30 minutes, Vladimir Putin behaved confidently and only once stammered in his inauguration speech, most of which he said by memory.
The first lady, Lyudmila Putin, dressed in a strict black dress obviously nervous too and followed his every gesture and word.
US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow confessed to a RIA Novosti correspondent that he could sense the importance of the event. I was very impressed, he said.
During the ceremony, the guests were cut off from the outside world. All those who had arrived in the Palace were requested to give in their mobile phones and received tickets instead.
This was hardly surprising. The invitations to the inauguration included a sheet of paper saying that the use of cameras, video cameras and telephones was banned. Besides, the guests were expected to wear certain clothes: dark suits for men and dresses of a normal length for women.
Even Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov and his son were not wearing their usual hats.
However, famous Russian journalists Alexander Nevzorov, Alexei Venediktov and political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky refused to wear ties and some ladies preferred trousers to skirts.
The guests will not only have good impressions of the ceremony but also modest presents - a memorable medal with the inscription: "V. V. Putin's Inauguration as Russian President. Moscow. Kremlin. May 7, 2004", but also a glass souvenir with a laser-made image of the Kremlin inside.