Riot police detain more than 100 protesters in the Russian capital as Vladimir Putin is sworn in for his third term as the country's president.
In the Kremlin, 2,000 dignitaries applauded Putin as he walked down a red carpet into the former throne room of the tsars, where he was sworn in with his right hand resting on the red-bound Russian constitution.
Outside, Moscow's riot police cracked down on the slightest sign of dissent on the streets of central Moscow, many of which were left almost entirely empty.
Police had battled protesters at an anti-Putin rally on Sunday, and on Monday dozens were led away when a crowd of more than 100 started shouting "Russia without Putin".
Dozens of others were detained on a boulevard near the route of Putin's motorcade to the ceremony, including some who had been sitting outside a French bistro wearing the protest movement's symbolic white ribbon on their jackets and coats.
More than 100 had been held for staging unauthorised protests and most would soon be released, Moscow police said.
Mr Putin's first act after formally taking back the reins of power after four years as prime minister was to assume control over the nation's nuclear missiles.
The former KGB agent became the country's commander-in-chief once again in a ceremony shown on state television, with a briefcase containing the controls for Russia's atomic arsenal.
Monday's inauguration celebrations included a blessing from Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, a ceremony that would have been unthinkable under the Communist regime that Mr Putin once served as an intelligence officer.
This week, Russia's parliament is expected to approve the nomination of MR Medvedev, 46, as prime minister, completing a job swap that has left many Russians feeling disenfranchised two decades after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Mr Putin was not allowed to serve a third term as president in 2008, so he became prime minister and handed over the presidency to his ally Mr Medvedev. But few Russians were in any doubt as to who wielded the real power.
But Mr Putin is returning with his authority weakened by unprecdented months of protests that have polarised Russia and left him facing a battle to reassert himself.
09 March 2012
05 December 2011