May 7 - Vladimir Putin appeals for unity in Russia after being sworn in as president for a six-year term. Travis Brecher reports.
Vladimir Putin arrives at a glittering Kremlin ceremony on Monday for his inauguration as Russia's new president. With one hand on the Russian constitution, Putin takes the oath in front of about 2,000 dignitaries. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "I swear while fulfilling the obligations of the President of the Russian Federation to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of the people and of the citizens." Putin appealed for unity in Russia, and pledged to strengthen democracy in his new six-year term. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "The security and well-being of the people of our country has always been and always will be above everything for me. I will do all I can to justify the faith of millions of our citizens. I consider it to be the meaning of my whole life and my obligation to serve my fatherland and our people." But Putin's words come amid widespread protests against what many see as his authoritarian control over the former Soviet state. Earlier on Monday police detained at least 22 protesters when a crowd of about 40 people started shouting "Russia without Putin" near the Kremlin. On Sunday hundreds of demonstrators were also arrested, including three opposition leaders - casting doubt over whether Putin is truly committed to fostering a democratic Russia. Travis Brecher, Reuters