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Medvedev Confirmed As Russian PM

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

New Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the former's inauguration ceremonyon May 7.

New Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the former's inauguration ceremonyon May 7.

MOSCOW -- Russia's lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, has confirmed ex-president Dmitry Medvedev as the country's new prime minister, a day after President Vladimir Putin was sworn-in for a third term.

Lawmakers in the Duma, where the Kremlin-allied United Russia party holds a majority of seats, approved Medvedev in a 299-144 vote.

The confirmation completed a job swap between Putin and Medvedev.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had nominated former president Dmitry Medvedev for the post of prime minister immediately after his inauguration on May 7.

During the campaign, Putin had pledged to install his political partner Medvedev as prime minister.

Putin, the outgoing prime minister who served two presidential terms between 2000 and 2008, was sworn in for a third term in as Russian president in a lavish ceremony.

'My Whole Life'

In a brief speech following his oath of office, Putin pledged to strengthen democracy in Russia.

"I will do all I can to justify the faith of millions of our citizens," he said. "I consider it the meaning of my whole life and my duty to serve my fatherland and our people."

He said Russia is entering "a new stage of national development" and that the next few years will be "decisive" for the country.

PHOTO GALLERY: Putin Through The Years
Some 3,000 guests, including Federation Council members, State Duma deputies, and justices of the Supreme and Constitutional courts, attended the ceremony at the Kremlin.

Putin's wife, Lyudmila also made a rare public appearance alongside her husband.

Following the event, Putin and his wife went to the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Kremlin, to get blessing from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

Patriarch told the newly-sworn president that he enjoyed people's confidence.

"The president's legitimacy is grounded in the trust of the people," he said. "You have that trust."

On his first official meeting on the day he was sworn in as president, Putin met the head of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge.

Putin's office said he assured Rogge during their meeting that hosting the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi remains one of Putin's top priorities.

Putin was a key figure behind Russia's successful bid to host the Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in 2014. During the past four years as prime minister he continued to oversee the preparations.

Meanwhile, police in Moscow arrested dozens of opposition supporters as new protest actions broke out May 8 against the newly-elected president.

Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was among the arrested, but he was later been released without any official accusation.

Minor scuffles went on throughout the day in Moscow between anti-Putin protesters and groups of pro-Kremlin youth with signs "Putin Loves Everybody" around their necks.

Thousands of people attended a mass opposition rally in the capital on the eve of Putin's inauguration.

With reporting by Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and AFP

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