Staunton, Sept. 21 – Only a few hours after Vladimir Putin issued his order for the partial mobilization of reservists to beef up the troubled Russian expeditionary force in Ukraine, Moscow prosecutors have warned Russians against taking part in any protest against this move, a clear indication of how unpopular it is likely to be and how angry many are certain to become.
The prosecutors published a list of the provisions of the criminal code that could be employed against anyone organizing protests meetings or taking part in them, apparently in response to the appearance of calls for protest that have already appeared online (rbc.ru/politics/21/09/2022/632afbc49a7947a10bf86daa).
They warned that “the dissemination of such materials through social networks, forums, or other internet platforms” will be punished especially severely if it involves calls to children. Meanwhile, RBC reports, the government agency overseeing the media issued a decree directing the media to report only what the authorities say about the mobilization and nothing else.
The Moscow action is likely to be copied by Russian officials elsewhere. But the fact that the authorities feel compelled to issue such orders so quickly shows that the Kremlin itself is well aware that while Russians may support Putin’s war in the abstract, they are far less willing to support it in any way that requires them to make personal sacrifices.