May 7 - Moscow residents speak out ahead of Vladimir Putin's presidential inauguration. Travis Brecher reports.
Vladimir Putin was set to be sworn in as Russia's president at a glittering ceremony on Monday - and in the early morning, security was already tight in Moscow. His inauguration comes just hours after clashes between police and protesters laid bare the deep division over his return to the Kremlin for six more years. The former KGB spy will take his oath before nearly 2,000 guests in the Kremlin's St. Andrew Hall, before being blessed by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and taking charge of the nuclear suitcase. But one Moscow resident says it doesn't really matter who is in the Kremlin, as the real control in Russia lies in the hands of those with financial power. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW STUDENT DMITRY SAYING: "I liked what one person said - 'Putin is the regime'. I don't think that if another person came to power anything would change. It's not a question of who is president, but of those people who control the big money and they will keep hold of it, even if the president changes - it doesn't matter, it's other people who influence things." While Putin's critics have tired of a political system that concentrates power in one man, many of his supporters welcome his domination of the country of more than 140 million. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MUSCOVITE LIUBOV SAYING: "He's a good person, he leads policy the right way. I like him, he's doing everything right." Putin, who will be 60 in October, grew up in Soviet days and worked as a spy in communist East Germany. But he's now under pressure to show he can adapt to a new political landscape - one in which opposition protesters expect to be heard. Travis Brecher, Reuters