Kommersant interviewed people from political, financial, business, and artistic circles, asking them what they expected from this "new stage." Some of the positive expectations included further modernization, development of the Far East, and the same kind of breakthrough experienced during Putin's first term. It was acknowledged that he would have it harder this time, because Russian civil society was stronger. Another person expected “a fourth term” but cautioned that this would only be possible if Putin could avoid having his third term become a repeat of the stagnant 18-year-long Leonid Brezhnev era.
Others had a much more negative outlook. The assistant leader of Just Russia, Oksana Dmitrieva, evidently believed that Putin was already on his way to his own Brezhnev moment, saying that “no one expects anything to come from stagnation.” Duma Deputy Sergey Petrov told Kommersant he feared that the business climate would worsen, because Putin has a “20th century understanding of economics.” A writer foresaw even more pressure on the mass media, which he expected would be “seriously warned” at the very least. Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) journalist Mikhail Rostovsky asked whether “our new-old president” could do what needed to be done to keep Russia from falling behind “in global economic and geopolitical competition.” Rostovsky thought the new president might truly understand the challenges he faced, and that he “sincerely wants to transform Russia, change it for the better.” The question, according to the author, was whether Putin was willing to sacrifice some of his personal power to allow a long overdue and sorely needed strengthening of Russia’s political institutions.
Both MK and the opposition Novaya Gazeta (NG) pointed out the fact that Putin traveled to his inauguration ceremony on streets that were completely empty. For Rostovsky, this was a “powerful symbol” of Russian politics circa 2012. He said that, even though the constitution stipulates that power resides in the Russian people, they have actually been given the role of observers, and “their place is in front of the television.” NG relayed what the foreign press had to say on those empty streets on the day of Putin’s “coronation.” Die Welt reportedly said that “‘the elected president of all Russians,’ as state television referred to him, saw on his way not people greeting him, but a mass of special police forces.” According to NG, Britain’s Guardian wrote the same, adding that Putin “made his way to the Kremlin silently and alone. Three state television channels did not mention the hundreds of anti-Putin demonstrators” in the city trying to outwit the police forces. And as the new president’s guests at the Kremlin enjoyed their “five thousand bottles of champagne, vodka, and caviar,” the clashes continued on the streets.