MOSCOW — With the swearing in of Dmitry Medvedev as Russia's president, the Kremlin leadership now mirrors one of its most potent symbols: the double-headed eagle.
Standing next to the new president during a ceremony Wednesday in a gilded Kremlin hall was his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, the man who nurtured Medvedev's rise to power and who will now be his prime minister.
The world waits to see whether the two can jointly rule this sprawling country.
Medvedev, 42, has promised to strengthen democratic freedoms and has suggested he will move Russia in a more pro-Western direction, raising the hopes of those who want to see the country shift away from Putin's authoritarian rule.
But Putin, 55, spent his last weeks as president planning to strengthen the prime minister's role and assuming the chairmanship of the United Russia party, which dominates Russia's politics.