Pressure on Vladimir Putin is growing.
His “special military operation” didn’t go as planned.Russia has been losing territory it had previously occupied as a result of the counter-offensive launched by Ukraine.
In the meantime, ongoing shelling has been taking place in Russian regions that border Ukraine.
Furthermore, the widespread outcry in Russian society was sparked by the Kremlin’s announcement of “partial mobilization” last month.
What would President Putin say?It is not, “Sorry, I invaded Ukraine in a huge mistake.”Security is tighter.across Russia, not just in the occupied Ukrainian region.
He’s going all out.
Vladimir Putin has declared martial law in the four regions of Ukraine that he claims to have annexed by means of a decree from the Kremlin:Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhank, and Donetsk regions.
It is unclear whether or not that will make any difference at all:It will absolutely not convince Ukrainian troops to give up their weapons.In order to regain lost territory, Kyiv is determined.
However, the leader of the Kremlin has also increased security throughout Russia by establishing three distinct security levels.
A “medium level of response” has been declared in annexed Crimea and those regions close to the border with Ukraine, such as Belgorod, Bryansk, Krasnodar, and Rostov.Among the measures are improving public safety and order:Also included in the decree are restrictions on traffic movement and entry and exit from these areas.
“Enhanced readiness” is the next level down.The central and southern regions of Russia, including Moscow, are affected by this.“Tighter public order security” and “vehicle searches and traffic restrictions” are mentioned in the presidential decree.
Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, attempted to reassure people by posting a message on social media that “there will be no measures restricting the normal rhythm of life.”That is yet to be determined.
The remainder of the nation—in essence, northern Russia, Siberia, and the Russian Far East—is subject to the lowest level of security.
To carry out President Putin’s decree, all regional governors have been ordered to set up “operational headquarters”. These will include the heads of each region, representatives of the military and the police.
Regional governors have also been ordered to “meet the needs of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, other troops and troop formations”. This would appear to hand the Russian military greater powers.
How will all of this work in practice? It may take some time for that to become apparent.
What is clear is that the security system President Putin has put in place can be used by the authorities to restrict freedoms across Russia and mobilise efforts for the “special military operation”.
And if the security situation in Russia deteriorates, there’s nothing to prevent regions being “upgraded” to a higher security level, including martial law.
What does this tell us about the Russian president?
There’s no sign that Vladimir Putin is seeking an off-ramp in this crisis. What we do see – with this decree – is a Kremlin leader determined to keep control.
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