A Selection of Russian News Articles for Monday

As you’ve probably heard, Russia’s second president, Vladimir Putin, was sworn in on Monday, May 7, for a third presidential term that will last six years. Here are some interesting news articles I found relating to the subject.

Bloomberg: Putin Return Lifts Futures as Gazprom Advances: Russia Overnight

Russian stock futures climbed as Vladimir Putin returned to Russia’s presidency for a third term promising to forge ahead with state asset sales and improve the nation’s investment climate.

Futures expiring in June on Moscow’s dollar-denominated RTS Index added 0.6 percent to 143,745 in New York trading. American depositary receipts of OAO Gazprom (OGZPY), Russia’s biggest company and the world’s largest natural gas producer, rallied from their lowest level this year, while OAO Mobile TeleSystems (MBT), the nation’s biggest mobile-phone operator, gained the most in more than a week.

Putin, whose first eight years in the Kremlin saw average economic growth of 7 percent as oil prices rose fivefold, signed at least a dozen decrees after being sworn in yesterday and said the world’s biggest energy exporter was beginning a “new stage” in its development. Russia’s Micex Index has tumbled 20 percent since Putin passed on the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev in May 2008 because of term limits….

Washington Post: Russia’s strongman is losing his grip

The anti-Putin rally staged here one day before Vladimir Putin was once again sworn into office as Russia’s president belied expectations. Although the energy of earlier protests seemed to have fizzled, tens of thousands marched on Sunday, chanting “Putin, go,” “Russia without Putin” and “Putin is a thief.” Unlike other mass rallies since December, Sunday’s demonstration ended in brutal clashes with the police and mass detentions.

Putin’s inauguration on Monday was a grandiose, even regal, affair — as if the trappings would offset the defiance of his detractors and reassure the nation (and, perhaps, himself) that he is still the all-powerful, uncontested leader he has been the past 12 years.

Indeed, Putin remains the most powerful man in Russia, but the rallies, while failing to yield immediate political change, signal that serious societal shifts are underway….

Time: Four Hundred Years of Xenophobia: Vladimir Putin, 1612 and All That

1612 means little to the Anglophone world. But during the last time Vladimir Putin was president, it became enshrined in an annual Russian ritual. Few of us noticed. Now, after a constitutional feint in which he served as Prime Minister, Putin has returned as president, by remarkable coincidence, on the year’s 400th anniversary. We need to know why he thinks 1612 is sacred.

According to Kremlin mythology, 1612 is the year that the Russian people — rich and poor, town and country — united under a strong leader to rise up against foreign, heathen oppressors. The bad guys, the story goes, were an army of Poles that had occupied Moscow for two years. They had been sent by their fanatical king, who was intent on conquering and converting the entire space of Orthodox Russia to western culture, in the form of Roman Catholicism. A prince named Dmitri Pozharsky and a merchant named Kuzma Minin emerged as national heroes and chased off the Poles. A gentle, pious teenage boy named Mikhail Romanov was elected Tsar. His dynasty lasted 305 glorious years. Throughout this time, Russia celebrated 1612, the year of salvation from outsiders, each Nov. 4 as “Unity Day.” A suitable motto could have been: “Defeating outsiders together.”

Not to brag, but I’m an Anglophone, and 1612 definitely means something to me. (I’m also a history major, so that’s why I knew what it means!)

На русском: Главное событие дня – Владимир Путин официально вступил в должность Президента Российской Федерации

В московском Кремле прошла торжественная церемония, которую в прямом эфире транслировали ведущие телекомпании мира. Владимир Путин, одержавший победу на мартовских выборах, официально вступил в должность Президента России. Путин стал главой государства уже в третий раз. Согласно внесённым поправкам в Конституцию, он будет руководить страной не четыре года, а шесть лет….