Vladimir Putin of Russia pulled out a new trick in his bag on Wednesday as he tried, for the twelfth time, to turn his situation around. war against Ukraine while it lasted its eight months with a lot of lives lost and little else to show for it.
But just like with Command “partial mobilization” sparked fury and street fights last month, the Russian president’s latest Hail Mary — declaring “martial law” in Ukrainian territories, Moscow doesn’t even have full control over and introduced new security measures to a third of Russia — apparently only to draw its citizens deeper into the war and change little on the battlefield.
Decree signed by Putin after he gathered his minions to make a solemn announcement of martial law — seven months later reassure citizens that things will never go this far — effectively imposing wartime restrictions on the regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine that Moscow claims control.
The decree, which went into full effect on Thursday, also grants “additional powers” to puppet leaders Russia appoints to head those regions and authorizes unspecified “other measures”. regulations, including “limitations of rights and freedoms” and “total or partial mobilization. Russia’s six regions on the border with Ukraine will also switch to an enhanced security regime that will allow local authorities to restrict movement in and out of the area or move residents out if they deem it necessary.
Putin also announced the creation of a special council designed to “meet all the needs” of the Russian military as the war drags on. The council, which includes members of the security services, legislators and members of the presidential administration, will be headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
The move was quickly welcomed by pro-Kremlin experts and some of Putin’s most staunch supporters, such as Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who said on Telegram that the presidential decree meant The newly occupied territories are now officially protected by Russia and Ukrainian cities will be wiped out. “Get off the ground” if “even a single bullet flies towards Russia.”
But human rights groups and legal experts note that the order signed by Putin on Wednesday also leaves the door open for authorities to confiscate the belongings of ordinary people to meet “military needs”, calling real citizens carrying out missions “for defense purposes”, citizens wiretapping ‘phones, restricting entry and exit, even detailing or imprisoning any person with the nationality of another country is considered ” enemy” to Russia.
The “martial law” order also comes amid a decline in Russian military morale as the complete failure of Putin’s command to mobilize is becoming more and more obvious, with more and more depressed family members. of the enlisted army accused defense officials of sending untrained or equipped men to die on the battlefield.
Putin’s new decree is seen by some as a desperate way to expand the search network for fresh meat.
“Evacuate as quickly as possible.“
Anton Herashchenko, an aide to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said: “Even without mobilization and terrorist energy allows the bunker terrorist to hold the stolen territories, preventing the attack. of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, or deprive Ukraine of its support from the entire civilized world,” wrote Wednesday.
He said the decree would now “possibly compel Ukrainian male citizens to enlist in the army and send them down to the trenches to die, as has been done before with the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk.”
The Kremlin, apparently well aware of the impact of the maneuver, was quick to offer assurances on Wednesday that Russia’s borders would not be closed under “martial law”. Likewise, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has promised Russians in the capital that the “normal rhythm of life” in the city will not be interrupted.
A day earlier, Kremlin sources interviewed Medusa said Putin and his top defense officials still feel public anger at the brutal mobilization, which was declared over in Moscow after authorities noticed that people People became “disappointed”.
But the damage is still done. And the presidential administration is said to have set up focus groups in major cities to determine the extent – only to find out if a source cited by Meduza called “anti-Putin trends” even among the public. Ordinary people often support so-called “special military operations” against Ukraine.
“Even if that person is for [the war]they still say it’s all badly organized and the president is responsible – he brought down all the officials and soldiers,” the source said.
If Putin hopes to bounce back with his latest move, it looks like he’s picked the wrong time. Even as the Russian leader sits down to claim unbridled security power over Ukrainian territories, Russian-backed officials in charge of some of those territories are openly fleeing an invasion. Expected counterattack of Ukraine.
Vladimir Saldo, the Kremlin-appointed Kherson leader, on Wednesday said local Russian-backed authorities were evacuating their offices in case Ukrainian troops broke in and his deputy, Kirill Stremousov urged people to “evacuate as quickly as possible”.
Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, laugh at what they describe as Kremlin excesses.
Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential office, wrote on Telegram: “The Russians are trying to scare the people of Kherson with fake news reports about our army shelling the city, and arrange a show evacuation propaganda.