Vladimir Putin on Monday launched his fourth term as president with an ambitious call to vault Russia into the top five global economies by developing its technological products and agricultural exports, the AP reports. Putin, who has sought to restore Russia's military and diplomatic prominence on the world stage, focused almost entirely on domestic issues in his speech after taking the oath of office in a vast, vaulted Kremlin hall glittering with gold leaf. Improving the economy following a recession partly linked to international sanctions will be a primary goal of his next six-year term, Putin said. "Russia should be modern and dynamic, it should be ready to accept the call of the times," he said in his inauguration speech to thousands of guests standing in three halls of the Grand Kremlin Palace.
Putin later issued an extensive decree calling for "acceleration of the technological development of the Russian Federation" and "creation of a high-performance export-oriented sector in the basic sectors of the economy, primarily in manufacturing and the agro-industrial sector." He foresaw Russia becoming one of the world's top five economies by the end of his term in 2024. That would require boosting GDP by some 50%; Russia currently places about 12th in rankings of world economies. Monday's pomp-filled inauguration was covered in assiduous detail on state television. It showed Putin working at his desk in his shirt sleeves, then donning a suit coat to begin a long, solitary walk through the corridors of the Kremlin's Senate building before boarding a limousine for a short drive to the Grand Kremlin Palace.