There is increasing pressure on Vladimir Putin, and his secret military operation hasn’t gone quite as he had hoped. Russia has been losing areas it had taken as a result of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Meanwhile, the persistent bombardment has been directed at Russian areas that border Ukraine. The Kremlin’s announcement of a partial mobilization last month also caused significant fear in Russian society. The reaction of President Putin? It’s not, “I’m sorry, I totally screwed up by invading Ukraine.” More security is in place. not only there, but also all around Russia, BBC report.
According to the BBC, Vladimir Putin has declared martial law in the four regions of Ukraine that he claims to have annexed: Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. It’s unclear what, if any, of a difference that will make there; it most definitely won’t persuade Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms. Ukraine is adamant about regaining lost ground. The leader of the Kremlin, however, has also tightened security throughout Russia by introducing three separate security levels.
A medium level of response” has been announced in the Crimean peninsula that has been annexed, as well as in the districts that are near the Ukrainian border, including Belgorod, Bryansk, Krasnodar, and Rostov. The decree also calls for limits on traffic flow and entry and departure into and out of specified zones as part of its list of measures for enhancing security and public order. Enhanced preparedness is the following rung below. In Russia, this is true for Moscow and the central and southern regions. The presidential proclamation refers to vehicle searches and traffic limitations in addition to tighter public order security.
The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, attempted to reassure the people of Moscow in a social media post that no actions will be taken to impede their daily routines. That is yet to be determined. The rest of the nation is at the lowest security level (in effect, northern Russia, Siberia, and the Russian Far East.)
All regional governors have been instructed to establish “operational headquarters” in order to carry out President Putin’s instructions. The leaders of each region, as well as officers from the military and police, will be among them. Additionally, regional governors have been told to “meet the needs of the Russian Federation Armed Forces, other forces, and unit formations.” This appears to grant the Russian military more authority. How will everything function in real life? It can take some time before that is obvious.
It is evident that President Putin’s security system may be exploited by the government to impose restrictions on freedoms across Russia and mobilize resources for the “special military operation.” There is also nothing to stop regions from being “upgraded” to a higher security level, including martial law if the security situation in Russia worsens. What does this reveal about the president of Russia? Vladimir Putin doesn’t appear to be looking for a way out of this dilemma. With this directive, we do see a Kremlin leader who is committed to maintaining power.
Photo credit: REUTERS