By appointing Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin as regional coordinator in the war against Ukraine, the Kremlin wants to divert public criticism from the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, according to British estimates.
"This measure should lead to a closer involvement of the regional governors in Russia's national security system," said the Ministry of Defense in London, citing intelligence findings.
During the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the north-east and south of the country, there was rarely any clear criticism of the political leadership in Russia.
"However, this will probably make it more difficult for the Kremlin to shield Russian society from the effects of the 'special military operation' in Ukraine," sources in London said. The Kremlin had already followed a similar approach during the corona pandemic. In Russia, problems are often blamed on the local authorities - the Kremlin then acts as the caretaker.
Sobyanin was appointed coordinator by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Monday. He is to coordinate the "development of security measures" in the Russian regions.
The British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line.
Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.