The decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin was perceived by the Kremlin as the "most unexpected step" taken by the West, reports Meduza, citing sources close to the Russian presidential administration.
According to the interlocutors of the publication, the Russian authorities were not ready for such a situation. In addition, the possibility of Putin's arrest abroad confuses the Kremlin's plans to promote the image of the Russian president as a "fighter against the West", "a defender of Latin American and African countries from colonial oppression" and "one of the main leaders of a multipolar world", which implies foreign trips.
Such trips were very important, including for domestic propaganda, which, uses the the reports about these visits to show the population that "Russia still has more friends than ill-wishers" and the country remains "one of the pillars of a multipolar world."
Now, theoretically, the Russian President can be detained under the Hague arrest warrant in 123 countries, reminds Meduza. And the Kremlin does not yet fully understand how to ensure Putin's security in the new conditions.
"Even the CIS countries are no longer a safe space," one of the sources of the publication stated. At the same time, the Kremlin doubts that any of the countries that were formerly part of the USSR can decide to arrest Putin, but "tenths, hundredths of a percent possibility is always there."
Difficulties with foreign visits have already begun. In August 2023, the next summit of the BRICS countries should be held in South Africa. South Africa is among the states that have ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and therefore has a legal obligation to enforce Putin's arrest warrant. South Africa has already said it has "taken note" of the ICC warrant.