Vladimir Putin took the oath of office for his fourth term as Russian president on Monday and promised to pursue an economic agenda that would boost living standards across the country.
During the ceremony in a Kremlin hall, Putin promised to improve Russia’s stagnant economy following a recession triggered in part by international sanctions.
“Now, we must use all existing possibilities, first of all for resolving internal urgent tasks of development, for economic and technological breakthroughs, for raising competitiveness in those spheres that determine the future,” he said in his speech to thousands of guests standing in the elaborate Andreevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace and two adjacent halls.
“A new quality of life, well-being, security and people’s health — that’s what’s primary today,” he said.
While Putin has restored Russia’s prominence on the world stage through a series of military actions, he has been criticized for inadequate efforts to diversify Russia’s economy away from its dependence on oil and gas exports and to develop the manufacturing sector.
Putin won a new six-year term in March’s election when he tallied 77% of the vote, although critics point to a heavy crackdown of opposition by the Kremlin.
The strongman has effectively been the leader of Russia for all of the 21st century, despite stepping down from the presidency in 2008 because of term limits, wherein he was named prime minister and continued to pilot the affairs of the country.