Luke Harding in Moscow guardian.co.uk, Wednesday May 7 2008
Dmitry Medvedev today became Russia's new president and the country's third post-Soviet leader during a glittering ceremony at the Kremlin which – formally at least – brought down the curtain on Vladimir Putin's eight tumultuous years in power.
Standing next to Putin, the outgoing president, Medvedev swore on oath on Russia's constitution. He then delivered a speech promising to improve the lives of ordinary Russians, fight corruption and end the country's "legal nihilism".
He said: "I'm going to pay special attention to the fundamental role of the law. We must achieve a true respect in law, and overcome the legal nihilism, which is hampering modern development." He also promised to make life "comfortable, confident and secure" for ordinary Russians.
Medvedev also paid warm tribute to his predecessor. He is expected to nominate Putin tomorrow as Russia's new prime minister and head of the government. "I would like to thank Vladimir Putin for his personal support, which I have felt constantly," he said.
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