* Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russian president on Monday in a glittering Kremlin ceremony that took place less than 24 hours after protesters opposed to his rule had battled police in downtown Moscow.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged the Foreign Ministry to stick to the provisions of the new Russia-U.S. Start treaty and push for guaranties that the U.S. missile shield in Europe will not be aimed against national nuclear facilities
* Polling stations opened across Syria on Monday for the country’s first multi-party parliamentary elections in half a century amid reports of ongoing violence that has jeopardized the UN-backed peace plan designed to end the 14-month bloody conflict
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During Vladimir Putin’s annual Q&A session some members of the Valdai International Discussion Club asked him several questions. How united is the West in its desire to punish Russia? Which EU countries are in favour of isolating Russia? Is this even possible? And what is going on in Ukraine?