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Russia: Putin orders 'gardening' holiday for his inauguration day in May

Vladimir Putin announced a four-day holiday that will officially give Russians time off for gardening — but will also coincide with his May 7 presidential inauguration.

Putin inauguration holiday russia 20120315Enlarge
Russia's outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and newly elected president Vladimir Putin (L) meet with former Italy's Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at the Rosa Khutor apline ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana, some 30 miles from Sochi, on March 8, 2012. Italy's ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi flew into Russia for a lavish dinner with Vladimir Putin after his old ally's victory in presidential elections, state television said. (DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin has ordered a holiday in May that will officially give Russians time off to tend their gardens — but will also coincide with his inauguration.

Many Muscovites will likely head out to their country homes, missing the president-elect's third such inauguration, according to Agence France-Presse.

Putin, who has recently faced mass protests against his rule, announced the four-day holiday at a government meeting, AFP said. The holiday, from May 6-9, will encompass his inauguration on May 7, as well as World War II Victory day on May 9.

"Many people want more holidays at this time, so that people could go to their allotments, their gardens," Putin said at the meeting, according to a government website.

More from GlobalPost: Russia's anti-Putin activists worry as protest peters out

AFP reported that Putin "forgot to mention that having gone to their dachas in the countryside, Russians would miss his inauguration into the presidential seat."

Putin won his third term in office in a March 4 presidential election that watchdogs warned was rigged. 

GlobalPost reported that while opposition activists have announced plans to hold mass rallies in early May, to protest Putin's inauguration, the size of crowds has been dwindling and it may be increasingly tough for the movement to garner support.

More from GlobalPost: Vladimir Putin cries at election rally (VIDEO)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120315/putin-inauguration-holiday-russia-protests