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New challenges as Medvedev sworn in
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Dmitry Medvedev was sworn in as Russia's new president Wednesday, succeeding mentor and endorser Vladimir Putin two months after an overwhelming victory in the country's presidential election.

Putin's eight-year presidency was characterized by a booming economy and political stability at home, and Medvedev is expected to continue his predecessor's policies. However, the 42-year-old new head of state will likely also be confronted with many challenges and difficulties, analysts say.

Continuity of policy

In his speech after taking the oath during the inauguration ceremony at the Great Kremlin Palace's St. Andrew Hall, Medvedev spoke highly of Putin's contribution during his two terms in office and pledged to continue his policies, which have "set up strong foundations for long-term development, for decades of free and stable development."

"This unique chance is something we must use to the maximum, so that Russia becomes one of the best countries in the world... This is our strategy and guideline for years to come," said Medvedev, a former law professor and first deputy prime minister.

"I consider my primary task to be the protection and further development of civil and economic freedoms, and the creation of new great opportunities for people's self-fulfillment," he said.

Medvedev also pledged to promote the rule of law, eliminate corruption, improve people's living standards, stimulate private investment and boost industrial and agricultural growth.

Challenges ahead

The greatest challenge Medvedev faces on taking office is maintaining the tempo of Russia's economic development.

Inflation in the country reached double-digits in late 2007, according to the Federal State Statistics Service.

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