An uneasy calm prevailed on the streets of Moscow on Saturday evening, as soldiers in the Russian capital prepared to meet a convoy of mutinous mercenaries, setting up machine gun positions and checkpoints around the city.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, had declared that a "counter-terrorism regime" was in force, before the leader of the Wagner private militia announced that his fighters would turn back to avoid bloodshed.
Yevgeny Prigozhin had said he wanted to oust the army's top brass and "restore justice", while Putin had promised to crush the mutiny.
Quotes from residents of Moscow
One Moscow resident who gave his name as Nikolai - declining like others to give his surname - watched the military take up positions to protect the city.
"It's frightening of course - you sit at home thinking about what might happen," he told Reuters. "It's disturbing, both for you and your loved ones."
Some residents were finding it hard to grasp the scale of events.
"... It's really tough news, really unexpected. I've just come back from university. I've just done my last exam - and the news was really unexpected as I was prepping (for the exam) last night," said Vladimir, a student. "I don't really know how to react. I haven't really got my head around it yet."
Under Sobyanin, the state has spent vast amounts to transform the city into an urban showcase with relatively low crime, a far cry from the drab Soviet era, and the 1990s when it was plagued by contract killings or, later, suffered attacks by Chechen separatists.
A woman called Galina said she thought what was happening was some kind of "provocation".
"It doesn't frighten me at all," she said. "I have confidence in our president and our people."
One man who declined to be named at all said he thought it was just politics playing out.
"They might cancel a few events, and I make my living from events. I have an event going on now, so I could lose out because of this," he said.
"But otherwise, it's their business, it's politics - let them get on with it."