July 19, 2024

With his army on the offensive in Ukraine and all forms of dissent inside Russia firmly suppressed, President Vladimir V. Putin is set to take center stage this week at two major events that will showcase his dominance over the country’s politics and his determination to win in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Mr. Putin, 71, will formally begin his fifth term as Russia’s president in a highly choreographed inauguration ceremony in the Kremlin. On Thursday, he is to preside over the Victory Day parade in Red Square, an annual demonstration of military might that in the last two years sought to symbolically link Russia’s war in Ukraine with the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Kremlin is also expected to nominate a prime minister and five key ministers, including foreign and defense, though the officials in those six posts may simply be renominated. The shape of the next Russian government will provide signals to the country’s course in the coming years.

Mr. Putin won his fifth term in March in a rubber-stamp election that Western nations dismissed as a sham. Regardless, the ceremony will be triumphal and filled with symbolism.

The country’s lawmakers, regional governors, religious leaders, high-ranking officials and other guests will wait for Mr. Putin to arrive at the Grand Kremlin Palace from the nearby Senate Palace, the site of the presidential office.

Mr. Putin will be transported in the new upgraded version of his Russian-made limousine, state media reported, projecting the message that Russia is able to sustain itself despite being largely cut off from the Western markets.

As Mr. Putin enters, hundreds of Russian officials and guests will be standing on the sides while the orchestra will play a ceremonial tune. Mr. Putin will read an oath, in which he will swear to “respect and safeguard the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.” He will then deliver a short speech.

This time, the ceremony will likely feature new elements highlighting that Russia is a country waging a war in Ukraine. Soldiers and officers who are taking part in it are likely to be among the guests.

The inauguration will take place only two days before an annual Victory Day parade. Unlike the previous year, when Russia was anxiously anticipating Ukraine’s counteroffensive, this year Mr. Putin will watch tanks and soldiers parade across Red Square in a much more emboldened state.

Since last fall, his troops have been on the offensive in Ukraine, steadily assaulting depleted Ukrainian defenses. Over the past few weeks, Russia has been capturing one village after another, threatening Ukraine’s logistical lines west of the city of Avdiivka.

The results of these advances have been showcased in Moscow, where authorities have put on display Western-supplied weaponry captured in Ukraine: tanks — their barrels bent downward to demonstrate defeat — armored vehicles and other equipment.

“Our victory is inevitable!” one of the posters said as people walked past taking pictures of American Abrams and German Leopard tanks, howitzers and mine sweepers. A message on a screen said: “Staff members of embassies of the U.S., Germany, France, and Poland can skip the line.”

Unlike parades before the war, leaders of only a handful of former Soviet states, and countries of limited stature on international arena, are expected to attend.

They include leaders of Laos in Asia, Guinea-Bissau in Africa and Cuba in the Americas. The former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan have confirmed attendance.

Over the past weeks, government officials and Kremlin watchers have been guessing what Mr. Putin’s new cabinet and administration would look like. In a country where bureaucratic posts are often based on personal connections and loyalty, ministerial and other high-ranking positions in the Kremlin carry a lot of weight

By law, the cabinet of ministers has to resign after Mr. Putin is inaugurated. He will then need to nominate to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, a candidate for the post of prime minister who will then nominate government ministers.

Several key ministers, including the ones responsible for defense and foreign policy, get nominated by Mr. Putin to be approved by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of parliament.

There is no indication that Mr. Putin will replace Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin; Sergei K. Shoigu, the defense minister; or Sergei V. Lavrov, the foreign minister. But there could be a surprise. Even keeping them would send a powerful message: that Mr. Putin believes he has a winning team, and the Kremlin is satisfied with Russia’s current progress in Ukraine and its international standing.

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