MOSCOW, JAN. 29 -- The Soviet Union's biggest popular opposition group is planning civil disobedience measures to resist a Kremlin order that authorizes joint military and police patrols in major cities beginning Friday.

"We are talking about demonstrations, pickets and even the symbolic guarding of certain key newspapers," Leonid Batkin, a cultural historian and a leader of the group Democratic Russia, said today. "Things have reached such a point that civil disobedience, even strikes, are the only ammunition the democratic forces have."

Batkin said his group is still debating "specific tactics" and added that it is seeking the support of strike committees in various regions, including the coal fields of Siberia and the southern Ukraine. Massive strikes staged by coal miners in the summer of 1989 were seen then as the first major sign here of a "revolution from below."

The government of the Soviet Union's Russian republic, led by Boris Yeltsin, denounced the military patrols today as "a gross violation of human rights and state sovereignty." The Russian statement said such patrols are justified only in natural disasters, epidemics or mass disturbances.

Moscow's deputy mayor, Sergei Stankevich, speculated that the patrols may be a way of limiting public protest and backing up unpopular decrees. Many officials here believe that the Kremlin could be preparing to announce a series of price increases.

Batkin conceded that Democratic Russia and other political opposition groups are "still very weak" in the face of the power of the military, KGB security police and Communist Party. "We are not yet ready for what happened in Prague, where sheer popular dissidence in the streets suddenly ushered in democracy" in late 1989, he said. "But for better or worse, a sense of danger tends to unify people, so we'll see."

Batkin and other leaders of Democratic Russia, including Moscow city officials, historian Yuri Afanasyev and world chess champion Gary Kasparov, have condemned the joint decree of the Defense and Interior ministries "to strengthen the protection of public order."

Stanislav Shatalin, a former member of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's presidential council, criticized the decree as "beyond discussion."

Democracy movement leaders have condemned the order on patrols, as well as another authorizing the KGB to inspect without warrant or warning all domestic and foreign businesses, as ominous confirmation that the Kremlin has taken a decisive turn to hard-line measures. But leading police and military figures have flooded the official press with reassurances that the patrol order, signed by Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov and Interior Minister Boris Pugo, is meant only to prevent crime and harassment of military units.

Maj. Gen. Viktor Solomatin of the armed forces general staff told the military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda that the patrols are intended to blunt a "surging crime rate" and that armored vehicles will be limited to army garrisons. Solomatin said the idea that the patrols are a "threat to democracy" was merely "one more attempt by certain people to use any pretext for anti-army speculation."

But such reassurances have failed to ease anxiety here or in the secessionist Soviet Baltic republics -- Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Although the official press has not yet printed the full text of the order, a copy made public in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, makes it clear that the patrols will be armed and authorized to use armored vehicles.

Outside Vilnius early this morning, a 20-year-old man, apparently a draft resister, was critically wounded by a Soviet military patrol when he refused to leave his car.

{President Bush, meanwhile, said in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that the Soviet Union had given Washington "representations" that could result in the withdrawal of some Soviet forces from the Baltics, a reopening of Kremlin dialogue with the three republics and "a move away from violence."}

Stankevich called the decree "unlawful" and appealed to the Russian republic's legislature to block the patrols. But it is unclear how Yeltsin can act; despite his high standing in opinion polls, his hold on the legislature is often tenuous. Yeltsin has sharply criticized Gorbachev for the recent military crackdown on separatist movements in the Baltics but was unable to steer a resolution denouncing the violence through his own legislature.

In the republic of Georgia, the separatist parliament voted unanimously today to nullify the joint military patrols there. In a separate unanimous vote, the legislators required young men of military age to serve in a Georgian national guard.