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7 May, 2008 04:47

President’s ceremony - step-by-step

On May 7, 2008, the Grand Kremlin Palace hosts the inauguration ceremony for Russia’s newly elected president, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev.

Flag-bearers march through the central aisle of St. George’s, St. Alexander’s, and St. Andrew’s Hall, and set up the National Flag of the Russian Federation and the Standard of the President of the Russian Federation on the podium to the sounds of ‘The Welcome March’ by world-famous Russian composer Petr Tchaikovsky, played by the Presidential Orchestra.

The standard-bearers are Guards from the First Company of the Presidential Regiment. In addition to the regular mess uniform, they have historical uniforms as well, the colours of which are those of the Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky Regiments from the times of Peter the Great, whereas the style of their uniforms and hats comes from the period of the Patriotic War of 1812.

St. George’s Hall is the largest and most solemn hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace. It is dedicated to the Order of St. George, a military order of the Russian Empire. The order was established in 1769 by Catherine II. The walls and the ceiling of the hall are decorated with marble installations, with names of the regiments and individuals that have been awarded the Order of St. George inscribed with golden letters on them.

St. Alexander’s Hall was named after the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, established in 1725 by Catherine I. The walls of the hall are decorated with pink marble. Its interior dome is decorated with depictions of the order and of Russia’s coat of arms.

St. Andrew’s Hall, where the ceremony takes place, was named after the Order of St. Andrew the First-called. During the Soviet period, the history of the order was interrupted for an extensive period of time, but in modern times Russia has re-established the order as its highest award.

The Kremlin Guards of Honour carry in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the Chain of Office of the President of the Russian Federation. This is the copy of the Constitution that is kept in the president’s library and used when a new president takes the oath as he steps into office.

The centerpiece of the presidential Chain of Office is the cross of the Order of Service to the Fatherland, 1st Class. Its motto is Benefit, Honour, and Glory. Names of Russian presidents and dates they stepped into office are engraved on the links of the chain.

The Chain was introduced by the first President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin in 1996. It is usually kept in the Awards Hall of the presidential residence in the Kremlin’s Senate.

Separation of powers – the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary – is the foundation of the modern Russian state, which is headed by the president, and top representatives of the three powers, as well as Vladimir Putin, ascend the podium at St. Andrew’s Hall.

2,400 guests are present at the inauguration ceremony.

Dmitry Medvedev’s motorcade enters the Spasskaya Tower. Its Gate is usually opened once in four years, for the occasion when a new president assumes power.

Dmitry Medvedev enters St. George’s Hall to the sounds of ‘The Ceremonial March’ by Tchaikovsky, walks through the central aisle of St. George’s, St. Alexander’s, and St. Andrew’s Halls, and comes up to the podium.

President Putin gives a speech and hands the presidential regalia over to the newly-elected President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev.

Chairman of the Constitutional Court asks Dmitry Medvedev to take an oath, the text of which is cited in article 82 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Dmitry Medvedev puts his right hand on the copy of the Constitution and pronounces the oath.

“I vow, in the performance of my powers as President of the Russian Federation, to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, to observe and protect the Constitution of the Russian Federation, to protect the sovereignty and independence, security and integrity of the state and to serve the people faithfully.”

The Constitutional Court chairman officially announces Dmitry Medvedev the President of the Russian Federation, and the National Anthem sounds.

Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Aleksy II gives Dmitry Medvedev his blessing – for the first time in modern Russia’s history.

Presidential Standard is raised over the top of the Kremlin residence of the President of the Russian Federation.

“Slavsya” by Glinka sounds and from the side of the Kremlin embankment can be heard the Artillery Salute of 31 salvos, which is given to honour the new President.

Dmitry Medvedev gives a speech and walks through St. Andrew’s, St. Alexander’s and St. George’s halls to review the Presidential Regiment on the Cathedral Square.

The Commander of the Presidential Regiment reports to Dmitry Medvedev, who is also the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and Medvedev greets the Regiment.

This formation’s origin goes back to the times of Princes’ armed warriors in Ancient Rus, tsar’s soldiers, emperors’ grenadiers and Kremlin cadets. The year 1936 marks a new chapter in the history of this elite military unit when a special-purpose regiment was formed in the garrison of the Moscow Kremlin to ensure the security of the highest state officials.

During the years of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), the servicemen of this regiment were charged to protect the Kremlin from fascist air raids. During the history-making first Victory Parade in the summer of 1945, three battalions of the regiment had the honor to march across Red Square.

Now the Presidential Regiment is billeted in the Kremlin, and the servicemen are duty-bound to preserve age-old traditions. They are a kind of calling card of Russia, and their missions include protection of top state officials and guarding the Kremlin.

The Commander takes up the leading position at the head of the Regiment which now also includes the standard-bearers with the National Flag and the Presidential Standard.

The Orchestra plays ‘The Welcome March’ and the Presidential Regiment marches across Cathedral Square.

The military march-past tops off the ceremony in which Dmitry Medvedev officially steps into the office as the President of the Russian Federation.