Esteemed citizens of Russia and dear friends, I am addressing you today, you in particular, since you have entrusted me with the highest post in the country.
Vladimir Putin’s speech during the inauguration ceremony (May 7th, 2000):
I am aware that I have undertaken a huge responsibility and I am aware that the head of state in Russia has always been and will always be responsible for everything, for everything that is happening in the country.
On leaving the Kremlin, the first president of Russia, Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, made remarks which many would remember. He reminded us of these words today. He said and repeated in this hall today: take care of Russia. This is how I see my main task as president.
I will expect my comrade-in-arms and colleagues to fulfil this duty as well. I am hoping that my fellow compatriots and all those who hold dear the destiny of their fatherland will help in this patriotic affair.
I also want to thank my supporters today, all those who voted for me during the election. You expressed your support for the first steps that were made. You believed that together we could change life for the better.
I am deeply grateful to you for this but I understand that your support is only an advance to the authorities as a whole and, of course, to myself, who is assuming office as the country’s president.
I appeal also to those who voted for other candidates: I am convinced that you voted for our common future, for our common goals, for a better life, for a flourishing and strong Russia. Each one of us has his own experience, his own views, but we must be together: we have to do a great many things together.
Today is truly a historic day. I wish to focus attention on this once more. In actual fact, for the first time in the entire history of our state, for the first time in Russian history, supreme power in the country is handed over in the most democratic and in the most simple way: through the will of the people, legally and peacefully.
The transfer of power is always a test of the constitutional system, a test of its strength.
It is true that this is not the first test for us. Perhaps, it is not the last one.
However, we have gone through this trial, this stage, with dignity. We have proved that Russia is becoming a truly democratic modern state. The peaceful succession of power is the crucial element of the political stability which we have dreamt of, to which we have aspired and which we have sought.
The movement towards a free society has not been easy. There have been both tragic and bright stages in our history.
The establishment of a democratic state is a process which is yet far from completed. However, a great deal has already been done.
We must safeguard what has been achieved, maintain and develop democracy, ensure that the authorities elected by the people work in their interests, defend Russian citizens everywhere, including both inside and outside our country, and serve the society.
This is my convinced firm position. I have defended it and intend to continue defending it.
For today’s formal event we are gathered here, in the Kremlin, a place which is sacred for our people. The Kremlin is the heart of our national memory. Our country’s history has been shaped here, inside the Kremlin walls, over centuries. And we do not have the right to be heedless of our past.
We must not forget anything. We must know our history, know it as it really is, draw lessons from it and always remember those who created the Russian state, championed its dignity and made it a great, powerful and mighty state.
We shall preserve that memory, and we shall preserve that tradition through the ages. We shall hand down to our descendants all that is best in our history — all that is best.
Esteemed citizens of Russia, we believe in our strength, in our ability to really transform and transfigure the country. We have common goals.
We want our Russia to be a free, prosperous, rich, strong and civilized country, a country of which its citizens are proud and which is respected in the world.
During the past few months, both in Moscow and during meetings in the Russian regions, I have sensed your understanding and your support, and very often from people, from the most ordinary people, in the squares and streets of our towns I have heard very simple words, but words that are very important to me.
We believe you. We are counting on you. Don’t deceive us. I can assure you that in my work I will be guided only by the interests of the state but there may well be mistakes.
But I can promise you, and indeed I do promise, you that I will work openly and honestly.
I consider it my sacred duty to unite the people of Russia and to gather citizens around the clearly-defined tasks and aims and to remember, every minute of every day, that we are one nation and we are one people. We have one common destiny.
Vladimir Putin’s speech during the inauguration ceremony (May 2012):
Citizens of Russia,
As I take office as President of the Russian Federation, I am aware of my great responsibility before our country. Russia’s interests and the security and prosperity of our people have always been and always will be my utmost priority. I will do everything to justify the trust that millions of our citizens have placed in me. I see the whole sense and purpose of my life as being to serve our country and serve our people, whose support gives me the inspiration and help I need to resolve the greatest and most complex tasks.
We have travelled a great and difficult road together, believing in ourselves and our strength and ability. We have strengthened our country and returned our dignity as a great nation. The world has seen a Russia risen anew, and this is the result of our people’s hard work and our common effort, to which everyone has made their personal contribution. We have everything we need today to continue our development and progress: an effective and developing state, a solid economic and social foundation, and an active and responsible civil society. I think that much credit here is due to Dmitry Medvedev. His presidency ensured that our country could keep developing with continuity and stability, and gave new impetus to modernisation in all spheres of life. He has big tasks and very responsible work ahead and I wish him success in this.
We are now entering a new stage in our national development that requires us to resolve tasks at a principally new level, tasks of a different quality and scale. These coming years will be crucial for shaping Russia’s future in the decades to come. We must all understand that the life of our future generations and our prospects as a country and nation depend on us today and on our real achievements in building a new economy and developing modern living standards, on our efforts to look after our people and support our families, on our determination in developing our vast expanses from the Baltic to the Pacific, and on our ability to become a leader and centre of gravity for the whole of Eurasia.
We will achieve our goals if we remain united and stand together, treasure our homeland, strengthen our country’s democracy, constitutional rights and freedoms, and expand our citizens“ participation in government and in setting our national agenda, so that everyone’s desires for a better life become part of the common effort for our country’s prosperity. We will achieve success for sure if we stand firmly upon the solid foundation of our multi-ethnic people’s cultural and spiritual traditions, our centuries of history, the values that have always been the moral backbone of our life, and if each of us lives according to their conscience, with love for and faith in their country, their families and loved ones, and care for their children’s happiness and their parents” welfare.
We want to live and we will live in a democratic country in which everyone has the freedom and opportunity to apply their talents and labour, their energy. We want to live and we will live in a successful Russia that the world respects as a reliable, open, honest and predictable partner. I believe in the strength of our common goals and ideals, our determination to transform our country, our people’s united efforts, and our common desire for freedom, truth and justice. We are ready for the tests and accomplishments ahead. Russia has a great past and just as great a future. We will work with faith in our hearts and sincere and pure intention.