Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C) enters Andreyevsky (St.Andrew's ) Hall at the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow’s Kremlin, on May 7, 2012, during his inauguration ceremony
Photograph by Alexey Druzihin/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Two prominent Russian opposition leaders have been jailed for 15 days because of their role in the anti-Putin protests that greeted the Russian strongman's return to the presidency this week.
Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov were jailed on Wednesday, Reuters reports. They were sentenced to 15 days in prison for disobeying police. Navalny is an opposition blogger (the New Yorker profiled him in 2011), and Udaltsov is a leader of the Russian left.
As the Associated Press explains, the two opposition leaders have been detained multiple times since Sunday as protesters attempt to organize unathorized demonstrations around Moscow.
Monday, May 7: Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency on Monday, taking the oath of office as riot police did their best to crack down on anti-government protesters less than pleased with the reality of a third-term for the Russian strongman.
Putin has been in power since 2000, first during two terms as president and then as prime minister. His newest presidential term lasts until 2018, at which point he can run for a fourth term, the Associated Press explains.
Putin took office with a short address in which he called service to his country the "meaning of my whole life," adding, "This support encourages me and inspires me and helps me address the most difficult tasks." (Translation via the New York Times.)
Outside the Kremlin, meanwhile, police cracked down on anti-government protests, indicating that the new presidency may not tolerate the public displays of dissent that have been on display since this past winter. According to the Times, 400 protesters were arrested during a planned protest on Sunday that drew more than 20,000 people, and another 120 were detained on Monday as protesters tried to demonstrate along the route to the Kremlin.
The protests on Sunday took a violent turn when some in the crowd tried to break through a line of riot police, apparently to reach the Kremlin. On Monday, police rounded up protesters ahead of Putin's arrival, including those wearing the opposition's white ribbons while sitting outside a café, as Reuters reports.
Outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev is expected to be named as Putin's prime minister this week.