The governors of the Russian regions affected by the orders lined up almost immediately after Putin signed them to reassure their constituents that there were currently no plans to enact the restrictions contained in the decrees, which were most likely to be imposed in annexed southern and eastern Ukraine.
Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, was one of these voices.
On Wednesday, Sobyanin said on Telegram, “We will take the necessary measures to improve the security of civilian facilities and essential facilities. “At the same time, I must say that no restrictions are currently being implemented to restrict the daily rhythm of city life.”
Few people in the capital appear at ease.
Residents of the city, who had attempted to live their lives normally for seven months, were shocked by Putin’s troop call-up. According to estimates, tens of thousands of men from Moscow have left the nation.
No, I am not reassured, said Alexandra, a 56-year-old retired accountant in Moscow who requested that her last name be omitted out of concern for retaliation. “One can believe or not believe politicians, they will do whatever they feel useful at any moment,” Alexandra told NBC News. Martial law has never changed Moscow’s way of life, not even during World War II, so I doubt it would.
Pavel Chikov, a well-known human rights attorney in Russia, told his Telegram subscribers that the answer to the question of whether restrictions imposed during the war can now be applied nationwide is “Yes.”
The mobilization effort last month demonstrates this, according to Andrei Kolesnikov, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Kolesnikov claims that although Moscow “may be regarded as a special place,” “I can’t declare that dwellers of the capitals are safe given that there was a hunt for men among the populations of St. Petersburg and Moscow.”
In a piece dissecting Putin’s executive orders, independent Russian journalists Farida Rustamova and Maxim Tovkaylo note that the actions are legally unprecedented in contemporary Russia, “radically expand the powers of the authorities in the conditions of the war with Ukraine, and, in fact, introduce special rules of life throughout the country.”
The Russian military, security agencies, and regional authorities have a great amount of influence as a result of the orders, which are generally vague and uncontrolled, to rally the neighborhood’s citizens and businesses in support of the “special military operation.” The foundation has also been laid for any given region to immediately increase security to the point of martial law.
In addition to the four Ukrainian districts that are now officially under martial law, six Russian regions that border Ukraine and Russian-controlled Crimea are also now under “medium reaction level” restrictions. This is effectively “soft” martial law that gives regional governors the power to restrict mobility within their jurisdictions and order the evacuation of citizens if necessary.
Since the start of the conflict, these areas have been subject to limitations, but in recent weeks officials have tightened their control along the border. The reason for this is Ukrainian attacks on structures and infrastructure located on internationally acknowledged Russian territory, such Belgorod. And last week, at a training facility in Belgorod, mobilized soldiers started firing on their fellow soldiers.
The declaration of “soft” martial law in these areas means that the Kremlin anticipates Belgorod and other districts to experience the effects more and more, which is not impossible given Ukraine’s effective counteroffensives. Russian sabotage is also an increasing source of worry.
The remainder of Russia’s western and southern administrative districts, including the country’s capital, Moscow, that are not included in the “medium reaction” tier, have been placed under the third tier of “heightened readiness.” The “baseline” readiness level, which permits increased security presence and restrictions, is applied to the remainder of the nation.