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The history of Russian presidential inaugurations
The history of Russian presidential inaugurations is not long. It started with Mikhail Gorbachev winning an election of March 14, 1990, at the 3rd USSR Congress of People's Deputies. Sworn in at the congress the same day, he became the Soviet Union's first-ever President. A national ballot elected Boris Yeltsin Russia's President, June 12, 1991. He was inaugurated at a republican Congress of People's Deputies, July 10. Russia then was still retaining its official Soviet name of RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). Once Mr. Yeltsin took his oath, the Russian anthem was played, with Russia's national flag hoisted close to the Soviet above the presidential residence in the Kremlin. Russian national symbols were reborn that day. Presidential decrees eventually appeared to introduce the federal presidential standard and insignia. They figured in Boris Yeltsin's second inauguration, of August 9, 1996. The ailing President could not risk to attend a blueprinted sumptuous pageant in the Kremlin's Cathedral Square, so the gala was transferred to the Grand Kremlin Palace and cut to a mere seventeen minutes. Vladimir Putin was inaugurated his first time, May 7, 2000. The ceremony opened, 11.45 a.m., Moscow time, as the presidential motorcade entered the Kremlin through the Spassky (Saviour's) Gates, earlier barred to traffic. Soldiers uniformed as during the Napoleonic War of 1812 entered St. Andrew's Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, which hosted the gala, with Russia's national flag, the presidential standard, presidential insignia and a special copy of the federal Constitution for swearing the President in. Messrs. Yeltsin and Putin followed quite soon. At noon sharp, the President elect crossed two halls of the Grand Kremlin Palace to a fanfare to enter St. Andrew's Hall. Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first President, appeared a minute before him. Vladimir Putin took his oath, his right hand on the Constitution. Boris Yeltsin made a short speech to congratulate him. He wished his successor to cope with his hard duties, and affluence and wellbeing to the Russian nation. "Keep and preserve Russia," said Mr. Yeltsin as he gave the new President his insignia-a cross on a chain. The gold cross formee has arms of equal length, each shaft six centimetres long. Ruby-coloured enamel covers it on the obverse, with the national coat-of-arms applique in the centre. The reverse carries a circular central medallion framed in the device, "Benefit, Honour and Glory", laurel branches under it. A laurel wreath attaches the cross to its chain. The chain, of gold, silver and enamel, has seventeen links. Eight represent the national coat-of-arms, and the other nine are circular rosettes bearing the "Benefit, Honour and Glory" motto. Each link bears on its reverse a white applique enamel plaque with gold engravings-the surname, first name and patronymic of each successive President, and his inauguration year. "To preserve Russia is my principal duty of President, as I see it. I am aware of the tremendous responsibility I have shouldered, and I know that in Russia, the head of state has always been a man responsible for everything-whatever may happen in this country," Mr. Putin said in his inauguration speech of 2000.
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