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Federal President Vladimir Putin will be inaugurated tomorrow, May 7
An approximate 1,700 have been invited to attend the gala, as far as Novosti knows. Two national television companies-Russia and Channel One-will start live casts, 11.45, Moscow time. After the presidential motorcade stops at the Grand Kremlin Palace main entrance, Mr. Putin will mount the Ceremonial Staircase, soldiers of the Kremlin Regiment of the Kremlin Guards lining it. St. Andrew's Hall of the palace will host the ceremony. Valeri Zorkin, federal Constitutional Court President, and Sergei Mironov and Boris Gryzlov, respective Speakers of the upper and lower parliamentary houses, are to be on the rostrum as the federal President is sworn in. To make his oath, Vladimir Putin will put his right hand on the federal Constitution-a unique copy preserved in the Kremlin Library. Boris Yeltsin swore on it in 1996, and Vladimir Putin four years later. The volume has a gorgeous red lizard leather binding. The presidential oath goes as follows: "With this I swear, in exercising the duties of President of the Russian Federation, to respect and protect human and civil rights and freedoms, comply with and protect the Constitution of the Russian Federation, protect the independence, sovereignty, security and integrity of the state, and be loyal servant to my nation." The national anthem will be played as soon as the President is sworn in. A presidential standard will be hoisted above the Kremlin Palace dome to a thirty salvo artillery salute in the Kremlin Embankment, after which President Putin will make a concise address. Eighteen artillery pieces will make the salute after a final inauguration ceremony, in which the Presidential Regiment commander reports to the President in the Kremlin's Cathedral Square, and the regiment parades past the head-of-state, Vyacheslav Paradnikov, salute battalion commander, said to Novosti. The federal President is Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, so he is entitled to thirty salvos, the longest salute in the entire arrangement of martial honours. Tomorrow's ritual remains unchanged since the latest presidential inauguration, says Georgi Vilinbakhov, chief federal master-of-ceremonies. "That is natural-the ceremony was elaborated for a similar occasion. The previous was arranged smoothly enough, so there is no need of improvements now." Minor changes concern only central rostrum decorations. "That's no matter of principle, and will not change the ceremony proper," he said to Novosti. Customary symbols of presidential authority will appear in the ceremony-the presidential standard, to be taken into St. Andrew's Hall together with the national flag, the above-described Constitution, and presidential insignia-a chain with the Order of Service to Motherland. Designed by artist jeweller Evgeni Ukhnalev of St. Petersburg, the chain was made for Boris Yeltsin's inauguration of 1996. "Tomorrow's gala does not envisage guests of honour making gifts, as far as I know," added Mr. Vilinbakhov. The presidential Heraldry Council has considered all relevant matters-"what concerns symbols and insignia, the right way of hoisting the national flag and the presidential standard in compliance with the protocol, and other such intricacies," said our interviewee. The inauguration of May 7 will be Russia's fourth since the Soviet Union collapsed.
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