President Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen!
Today's ceremony contained many festive moments. Being sworn in as President is, of course, a formal ritual. But my words were not simply a tribute to ritual. The words of the presidential oath represent the very essence of work as President. Indeed, in its proper meaning, the oath addresses the people. Today I think it is important to emphasise that a country’s history and destiny do not begin with the election of a new head of state, nor do they end with his retirement. We will continue the work of those who did everything for the first time and attempted to simultaneously resolve a number of complex tasks. There were no blueprints for the work they did and there were no guarantees that it would be successful. And as I emphasise this I would also like to welcome the first President of the Russian Federation, Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin, who is here today.
I would like to thank everyone that I have worked with during all these months. People did not believe in me alone; they saw a harmonious team, felt our unity and our desire to work conscientiously to make a real difference. It is very important that the circle of people who share our opinions are not limited to the Kremlin and the White House. We have support in the Federal Assembly and in the Russian regions. Our proposals are popular among Russian citizens. It was among the public itself that these approaches and these ideas were born and came to flourish. And it was because they were needed. And our ideas and plans will remain as open as they were before. We must be honest with our citizens. It is only then that we can preserve their trust and rely on their support.
Dear friends! We have left the extreme qualities of our political beginnings and our democratic youth behind us. Many mistakes were inevitable. But since that time both the authorities and society have grown quickly, and their confidence and maturity has certainly grown as well. We cannot promise miracles but we are ready to act professionally and expeditiously. Today the government cabinet, the deputies of the Federal Assembly and, most importantly, our voters are in the mood to work. And this implies that the harmony we dreamed about and have aspired to for so long now exists. Of course, one would be right to bet that we will still disagree on details, but I am convinced of the main thing: we share one goal, namely to preserve the dignity of our country and the prosperity of our citizens. The authorities are obliged to strive for this laudable goal.
As we come to the end of this difficult day I would like to once again thank everyone for their engagement. I would also like to express my hope that amount of energy our union benefited from today will continue to help us better understand one another and to simply help one another. And that, eventually, it will allow all of us to work for Russia in a dignified manner.
And the last thing. The length of the presidency is, of course, determined by the Constitution. But if we serve our country then we will serve her all our lives, regardless of our office or decorations. This is a moral obligation for all those who believe in Russia. And today the President of the Soviet Union and the first President of the Russian Federation act as the best examples of this.
I would like to propose a toast to the well-being and prosperity of our country! To peace and harmony on Russian land! Long live the people of the Russian Federation! Long live Great Russia!