Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends!
The inauguration of the President-Elect is a moment of great importance in the formation of democratic power, a uniting moment for all of the country’s regions, all the national political forces, and for civil society.
It is crucial today that, together, we all continue the national development course that has already proved its worth, guided in all our undertakings by the interests of our citizens.
Overall, we have completed this change at the highest level of state power, a change that has taken place in strict accordance with the law and democratic principles. At the same time, not for an instant have we delayed our work in addressing our citizens’ most pressing problems, but have moved ahead, keeping up the pace of our country’s development all the while.
It is my conviction that the state can be truly socially oriented, while at the same time being modern, innovative and able to strengthen its influence and standing in the world only if it keeps constantly in mind the welfare of its people and the development potential of each and every individual.
Today, on the eve of Victory Day, we feel with particular intensity the spiritual strength of our people, a nation who has more than once steadfastly defended its own road and statehood and has made an immense contribution to the preservation and progress of civilisation and to world science, culture and the arts.
Dear friends! Eight years ago, when I first swore the oath as President of Russia, I promised to work openly and honestly and to loyally serve my people and country. I have not broken my promise.
It is my conviction that to win the people’s trust, the authorities must be morally upright and true to their promises. This is no less important than professional skill and is just as essential for attaining results that will benefit all of society.
Today, as I step down from the office of head of state, I want to say that this obligation to look after Russia has always been for me my greatest duty as a citizen, and will remain so. This duty has guided me through all these years and will continue to guide me throughout my entire life.
I want to stress in particular that in a vast country with as many different ethnic groups and religious faiths as Russia, it is vital that we also nurture and continue to strengthen our unity – unity of the state, unity of purpose, unity of our national spirit.
Citizens of Russia, friends, I thank you sincerely for your faith, understanding and support, support that I have felt throughout these eight years as President, and that has given me strength and confidence that what we are doing is right. I thank all of you for having stood together as we worked towards our goals, overcoming difficulties, living through tragedies together, not stopping even before what at first glance seemed to be insurmountable obstacles. Yes, this work has not been without problems and mistakes, but we have nevertheless achieved real and important results and have taken a real stride forward towards a new life. Today we are setting goals and objectives not just for the next month or two, but for the next 20–30 years. We are setting ambitious goals, and I am absolutely certain that we can achieve these goals, but only with your active and direct participation and support. Thank you.
As I hand to Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev the symbol of state power today, I wish him luck and success as President of the Russian Federation. Let us all give him our support.
Thank you for your attention.