Russia’s Putin Sworn In For Another Six Years

Photo credit: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

(CNN) — Russia’s Vladimir Putin took his vows in the Kremlin on Monday to become President for another six years after winning an election in March with no meaningful opposition. If the former spy chief completes his full term, he will have dominated Russian politics for almost a quarter of a century.

Cameras rolled as Putin, 65, walked from his office, down seemingly endless red carpets into an awaiting car that took him to the Spassky Gate and on to the lofty and gold-plated Alexander Hall — the former throne-room of imperial Russia, arriving just after the clocks struck midday.

“My whole life will be dedicated to serving our people and our homeland,” Putin said in a short address to hundreds of dignitaries, vowing to “restore strength, prosperity and glory” to the Russian state, and talking of his role as a “sacred duty.”

The ceremony was more low key than the last time Putin was sworn in as President in 2012 amid concern about mass protests.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released from police custody early Sunday, a day after hundreds of people were detained following an anti-government protest in Moscow.

Navalny, a fierce critic of Putin, organized the rallies in several cities across Russia on Saturday. He was detained by police shortly after arriving in Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square, with dramatic images showing the protest leader being carried through the crowds by police.

Navalny said in a tweet that he was released shortly after midnight on Sunday, after police “registered two protocols against me: organization of a rally and resistance of the police.”