Media uncovers general mood in Kremlin after warrant issued for Putin's arrest

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The Kremlin proved to be unprepared for the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the arrest of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin; first and foremost, their worries concern the restriction of his movement around the world.

Source: Russian independent news agency Meduza with reference to sources "close to the Presidential Administration"

Quote: "Theoretically, the President of the Russian Federation can be arrested by The Hague Order in 123 countries. Sources close to the AP [Administration of the President – ed.] note that the Kremlin does not quite understand how it is possible to ‘ensure the safety’ of the president in these new conditions."

Details: It is reported that in 2023 the Kremlin planned to promote the image of Putin as a "fighter against the West", a "defender of Latin America and Africa from colonial oppression" and "one of the main leaders of a multipolar world".

But, according to the publication’s sources, this requires foreign trips, where Putin is now restricted due to the decision of the ICC.

In addition, the sources indicate, even some of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries have ceased to be a safe space for Putin. In particular, Tajikistan is one of the countries that ratified the Rome Statute [the treaty that established the ICC - ed.].

According to the publication’s sources, Putin's trips were very important, including for Russian domestic propaganda, which, based on news about these visits, could tell citizens that "Russia has more friends than ill-wishers" and the country remains "one of the pillars of a multipolar world.".

"Restrictions on foreign visits will work in the opposite direction. Before the arrest warrant, [Putin’s] trips were combined with the trips of foreign leaders to Moscow. Now it will not be possible to support the same frequency of meetings – one cannot constantly invite everyone to their state," said one of the sources.

Complications with Putin's foreign visits have already begun: a summit of BRICS countries will take place in August 2023 in South Africa, but on 20 March, the South African authorities said that it had already "taken note" of the ICC warrant.

At the same time, Putin's administration takes into account a possible expansion of the list of Russian officials for whom the arrest warrant can be issued. It may include governors of regions where children from occupied Ukraine have been accepted. However, according to the Kremlin, it will not affect their lives: "In fact, civil servants hardly go abroad [during the war] anyway," the sources say.

Background: 

  • On 17 March, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Alexeyevna Lvova-Belova, Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, in view of the situation in Ukraine.

  • All member states of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are now legally bound to detain Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, now deemed a suspect, and hand him over to the court. Marco Buschmann, German Justice Minister, has announced that he will execute the arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin if he sets foot on German soil.

  • The Russian authorities replied that the decision of the International Criminal Court does not have any authority in the Russian Federation.

  • On 20 March, the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, approved a statement about the need to hold the leadership of Russia accountable for crimes in Ukraine, and in particular to execute the decision of the International Criminal Court on the arrest of Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova.

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