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European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

"The ICC warrant closes the door to any way back for Putin on the world stage"

Visiting Fellow Alexander Baunov has recently published an article in Foreign Affairs, commenting on the effects of individual sanctions on Russian leaders by Western governments and the qualitative difference and impact of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against Putin.

16 May 2023 | Opinion

Graffiti of Putin. Unsplash image

In this article, Alexander Baunov explains how being personally targeted was perceived by members of Russia's elite as a sign of loyalty to the country and its leader. These sanctions did not divide the establishment, but were seen as a symbol of status:

"Following the 2022 invasion, the West imposed sanctions on such a broad sweep of the Russian establishment—more than 1,000 individuals and businesses are now included—that it is no longer unusual to be on the list, and any member of the elite who is not on it is suspect. In March, for example, a guest on a popular talk show on Russian state TV criticized the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Europe for not being on the sanctions list. The implication was that they might have dangerous contacts with Europe and the West."

However, the author stresses the difference that the warrant by the International Criminal Court represents to the international community and other non-Western countries as well as the impact other warrants might have on Putin's close supporters:

"Although Putin may be beyond the ICC’s reach, at least so long as he remains in power, his associates may not be so safe. If the court decides to issue warrants against more of them, they would run a much higher risk of being detained."

Read the full piece.

Last update: 17 May 2023

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