US snubs Putin’s swearing-in: Here’s who did show up

The U.S. and several other world leaders boycotted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s swearing-in ceremony for his fifth term Tuesday, though the ceremony did draw a few famous faces.

Putin was sworn into his fifth presidential term at a Kremlin inauguration, ushering in the beginning of at least another six years as Russia’s leader.

The win makes Putin, 71, Russia’s longest-serving leader since Catherine the Great in 1796, surpassing the record held by former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin.

In the wake of ongoing scrutiny of Putin as Russia pushes forward with its invasion of Ukraine, many world leaders, including the U.S., snubbed the inauguration ceremony.

In his inauguration speech, Putin criticized what he called Western leaders’ “aggression” against Russia and suggested talks about security and strategic stability would only be possible if the West changed its approach.

“The choice is theirs: Whether they intend to continue trying to contain Russia’s development, continue the policy of aggression, the relentless pressure they have been exerting on our country for years, or seek a path to cooperation and peace,” Putin said, according to the Kremlin’s website.

While many notable faces were no-shows, a crowd was still present to watch Putin take the oath of office.

Among those included American actor Steven Seagal, who is an ally of Putin’s and was appointed in 2018 as Russia’s special envoy to the U.S., Sky News reported Tuesday. Seagal reportedly called Putin the “world’s greatest leader,” and that “he’s very looking forward” to his next term, according to Newsweek.

Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a trusted ally of Putin, was also seen at the ceremony, Reuters reported. He has sent hundreds of his fighters from Chechnya, which is a federal republic of Russia, to assist in the country’s war against Ukraine. He has often described himself as Putin’s “foot soldier,” Reuters noted.

Russian singer Yaroslav Dronov, also known as Shaman, was also at the inauguration, sporting a suit and tie instead of his typical leather attire. The singer has publicly supported Russia’s war against Ukraine and is well-liked by the Kremlin. Soviet and Russian composer Aleksandra Pakhmutova was also spotted, Reuters reported.

Seven European Union member states were expected to send envoys, including France, Greece and Hungary, Malta, Slovakia and Cyprus, multiple media outlets reported. The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, was absent on leave, The Washington Post reported.

Several key Russian officials attended the ceremony, including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, per Reuters.

Putin’s aide, Yury Ushakov, took a swipe at those who did not show for the event, the Post reported.

“I believe they simply forget where they’ve been accredited, that’s it,” Ushakov said. “They simply forget where they are posted, and most importantly, why.”

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