Vladimir Putin to be sworn in for fourth term as president of Russia

Putin will be sworn in after winning his fourth election last March with more tan 76% of the vote 

Vladimir Putin is to be sworn in for his fourth term as president of Russia on Monday, after winning the election in March.

Putin has bee in power for 18 years, whether as president or prime minister.

Riot police confronted protesters against his rule in Moscow and other Russian cities on Saturday. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was held along with nearly 1,600 of his supporters

There have been fears of new unrest on Monday as he takes office.

The inauguration at the Kremlin in Moscow is likely to be more low-key than in 2012, AFP news agency reports.

Putin, 65, is expected to meet only volunteers who took part in his election campaign, the agency says.

Putin was re-elected president with more than 76% of the vote, his best ever election performance, but widespread irregularities were reported by some international observers. Allegations of ballot-rigging had dogged previous elections too.

Navalny, was barred from standing against Putin, on grounds of a conviction for embezzlement which he denies and alleges was politically motivated.

Domestic opponents have accused Putin of undermining democracy in Russia - a policy dubbed "managed democracy" - to keep genuine opposition parties out of parliament and ensure that he and his allies retain power indefinitely.

Putin has also struggled to revive the country’s economy after it was hit with Western sanctions over its annexation of Crimea in 2014, followed by a fall in global oil prices in 2016.

Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election further soured international relations, while this year saw Putin accused by the UK of responsibility for a nerve agent attack on its soil - allegations denied by Moscow.

Political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin told AFP Putin's approach to the international community would have to change over his new term.

"Russia hasn't been so isolated since the Soviet war in Afghanistan," he said.

"Now his [Putin's] task isn't to bring any new lands to Russia but to force the world to consider Russia's interests and accept its previous conquests," Oreshkin added.

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