Putin's new decrees: Martial law, levels of readiness and territorial defence

On October 19, Putin signed a decree to implement martial law in four regions of Russia. He explained this by the fact that Ukrainian forces continue shelling the new Russian regions and committing acts of sabotage. According to the Russian authorities, the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge was carried out by the special services of Ukraine, he also said.

"In this regard, let me remind you that in the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk People's Republic, as well as in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, before they joined Russia, martial law regime was already in effect. Now we need to formalize this regime within the framework of Russian legislation,” Putin said.

Martial law shall be introduced starting from October 20 midnight. The government, as well as the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Federal Security Service and the National Guard, must submit proposals on measures that are planned to be applied in the territories where martial law has been declared within three days.

Martial law in the new regions

The law "On Martial Law" shall be introduced as a measure of defence against aggression. The law implies a number of restrictions. In case of martial law, the authorities have the powers to:

  • Strengthen the protection of public order and critical facilities.
  • Introduce a special mode of operation of transport, communications and energy facilities.
  •  Evacuate cultural and social values ​​(and even equipment of enterprises).
  • Temporarily relocate residents to safe areas with the obligatory provision of permanent or temporary housing.
  • Introduce a special regime of people's entry and exit, restrict the movement of people within the territory.
  • Ban political parties, public and religious organizations that campaigт to undermine the security of Russia.
  • Prohibit processions, rallies, change of places of residence.
  •  Introduce curfew, a possibility of personal search and detention of a citizen for up to 30 days (in cases established by law).
  • Seize property for the needs of defense (in this case, the state is obliged to reimburse its cost).
  • Attract citizens to labor.

It is also possible to isolate foreign citizens, ban international organizations engaged in subversive activities, introduce military censorship and direct military control.

It is worthy of note that martial law was in effect in the above-mentioned territories before they became part of the Russian Federation.

Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian authorities had no plans to close borders.

Levels of readiness in other regions of Russia

There are four such levels depending on security threats:

  • maximum,
  • medium,
  • basic,
  • advanced readiness.

In fact, it goes about the system that used to be put in effect during the coronavirus pandemic. It will be up to regional authorities to assess challenges and respond to them as quickly as possible. Two headquarters will be created to coordinate their actions:

  • Special coordinating council headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin;
  • Special working group of the State Council chaired by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Mishustin's council will work to establish interaction between federal executive bodies to ensure provisioning of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

The maximum response level shall be implemented in Russia's four new regions (DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye). The authorities of those regions shall be empowered in accordance with the Federal Law "On Martial Law".

The medium response level shall be implemented in the border areas. In the Republic of Crimea, Krasnodar, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk, Rostov regions and the city of Sevastopol (the city of federal significance).

Local authorities will have the powers to:

  • strengthen the protection of public order and ensure public safety, strengthen the protection of military, state and special facilities and facilities of vital life sustenance, ensure safe operation of transport and communication systems, energy facilities, as well as facilities that pose a high danger to human life, health and natural environment;
  • introduce a special operating regime for facilities that ensure the functioning of transport, communications and energy facilities, as well as facilities that pose a high danger to human life, health and natural environment;
  • temporarily relocate residents to safe areas and provide such residents with stationary or temporary living quarters;
  •  introduce a special regime of entry into and exit from the territory, as well as restrict freedom of movement on it;
  • restrict the movement of vehicles and conduct their inspection;
  • control the operation of facilities that ensure the functioning of transport, communications, the operation of printing houses, computer centers and automated systems, and the use of their work for defense needs.

The level of high readiness shall be implemented in other regions of the Central Federal District and the Southern Federal District. This level of readiness implies:

  • strengthening the protection of public order and ensuring public security, protecting military, important state and special facilities, facilities that ensure the vital activity of the population, the functioning of transport, communication and energy facilities, as well as facilities that pose an increased danger to human life and natural environment;
  • introducing a special regime for facilities that ensure the functioning of transport, communications and energy facilities, as well as facilities that pose an increased danger to human life and natural environment;
  • restricting the movement of vehicles and conducting their inspection;
  • controlling the work of facilities that ensure the functioning of transport, communications and printing houses, computer centers and automated systems; using those facilities for the needs of defence.

The level of "basic readiness”, which is being implemented in other regions, includes only efforts to strengthen the protection of public order and introduce control over the operation of communication facilities.

Territorial defence

In fact, these are measures with the use of civilian forces to counteract terrorist attacks, acts of sabotage and, in general, enemy actions on the territory of the country.

The governors of the regions with medium, high and basic levels of readiness shall lead territorial defense headquarters and coordinate the actions of both regional, municipal authorities and territorial law enforcement agencies: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Russian Guard, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the FSB, the FSO.

The State Council working group headed by Moscow Mayor Sobyanin will work to coordinate their actions.

Units of territorial defence will be formed from the staff of law enforcement agencies. Civilians can be recruited only into volunteer units.

Putin also said during the meeting of the Security Council on October 19 that every soldier, regardless of the region of his mobilization, shall be paid not less than 195,000 rubles (about $3,200) for each calendar month of service.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov
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Editor Dmitry Sudakov
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