Putin sets economic martial law in Russia and puts economy on war footing

While Russian president Vladimir Putin has issued martial law in the four seized regions of Ukraine that are under Russian occupation, his most recent decree also prepares ground for a martial law in Russia. 

The decree established the Coordination Council, which is led by technocrat Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, as a legal foundation for an economic military rule in Russia.

Putin’s decree established the Coordination Council

The Kremlin is putting the Russian economy on a war footing and preparing for a prolonged war, according to IntelliNews. It also warned that the martial law decrees could imply focusing more federal and private sector resources on the war against Ukraine.

According to the decree, which was cited by Vedomosti, the Council is in fact a special body with extensive authority to ensure “cooperation between the federal executive branch and the regions in resolving issues related to ensuring the needs of the law enforcement during the special military operation” (ed.: the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine).

Daily updates to Putin on the Council’s progress are required from PM Mishustin. Federal, regional, and local governments as well as “other entities and organizations,” which may include any private sector enterprise, are bound by the Council’s decisions.

The objectives of increasing the output of the military industrial complex may “involve business”, as confirmed by Mishustin himself last week.

The Council is free to choose its performance benchmarks and implementation timelines for tasks including fixing military equipment, offering medical and sanitary services, fixing buildings and undertaking engineering work, among others. The budget for all of these objectives will be distributed by the Council.

The Council will also be in charge of matters involving the determination of prices for products and services required for the war. For the purpose of providing goods and services, the board will choose suppliers, contractors, and service providers. The board will also supervise the use of all the resources.

The FSB director Alexander Bortnikov, the heads of the Federal Tax Service and the Russian National Guard Rosgvardia, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Emergency Situations Minister Alexander Kurenkov, and a number of other high-ranking officials will be part of the Council headed by Prime Minister Mishustin. These officials include the “import substitution Czar” Denis Manturov and the “energy Czar” Alexander Novak.

Coordination Council is given unprecedented high authority

Furthermore, the Council will also support the development of military infrastructure and the coordination of automation, digitalization, and information-analytical support in the area of defense, including the development of conscript databases.

In order to do this, the Council is given the authority to ask higher-level authorities for materials, invite these authorities’ representatives (as well as other specialists) to Council meetings, and issue directives. It also has the authority to form committees to address specific problems and make recommendations to the president.

The lawyers interviewed by the newspaper point out the Council’s unprecedented “supra-governmental” legal status, which gives it the power to defy national and local laws and serve as the military’s command center. A Coordination Council had previously been established to address the COVID-19 epidemic, but Putin had not personally established it.

Additionally, wartime operations headquarters have been formed in all Russian regions. These headquarters are under government supervision, with participation from officials from the security services, and their decisions are binding on the regional executive authority.

All signs show that Russia is preparing for a long war. The only question remains, will it be against Ukraine, or against the West.

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