Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, will not attend the BRICS meeting (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). It is better to avoid being arrested as a war crime than risk being arrested.
The South African presidency announced on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin, of the Russian Federation, will not be attending the Summit, but will be represented at the Summit by Mr Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister for the Russian Federation.
BRICS is a collection of what are supposedly the fastest-growing economies in the world. The term “fastest-growing” is a bit of a relative one, as these economies are not objectively the world’s fastest, and in the case of Russia, they may even be stagnant. Some anti-American pundits believe BRICS will replace the US and EU, and lead to a multipolar world. Since its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been using BRICS as a way to avoid sanctions and rally international support. It also uses it to assume a position on the global stage it does not rate. If you think of BRICS in any other way than China’s effort to establish a power center separate from the West, and Russia as something more than a sockpuppet involved in the deal you are mistaken. That’s my opinion.
On February 24, 2022, Russia invades Ukraine with an untrained military force, led by men who see themselves as the heirs to the Red Army that ravaged and pillaged Eastern Europe between 1944-45. During the invasion, the Russian Army committed virtually any type of war crime. The pattern of rapes plunders, and deportations, which is familiar to anyone who studied World War II, has continued since then. According to the UN, up to 100,000 Ukrainian children have been “adopted by Russian families” after being taken from their parents. Some Ukrainian children are now appearing in the flood of illegal immigrants that is encroaching on our southern border. The International Criminal Court (ICC), in response, issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin. All members of the ICC Convention are now obliged to arrest Putin if he enters their jurisdiction.
This created a serious political problem for Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African President-for-Life. When that failed, his government gave Putin immunity. Ramaphosa was so doubtful about the immunity promise that he said Russia would threaten South Africa if Putin was arrested.
South Africa claims it can’t arrest Vladimir Putin during the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, next month. This is because Russia has said that they will “declare war” if a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against their leader is enforced.
In court documents released publicly on Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that “Russia made it clear that an arrest of its sitting president would constitute a declaration of war”. He also revealed that Pretoria had notified the ICC it may not be able to detain Putin.
This event has serious implications, even if it is Monty Python in nature.
First of all, Russia is isolated. Ramaphosa had the option of telling the ICC that they should pound sand but he did not. Ramaphosa didn’t do it because, no matter what the BRICS members say about BRICS or Western sanctions. The BRICS JV team knows that they are vulnerable to the civilized and Western world. Putin’s partisans may make as much noise about Russia becoming stronger due to the war as they like, but this is a delusion.
Second, Putin is afraid to travel to any but the most friendly of states. The ICC arrest warrant places him at real risk, and if that happens, Russia’s bleating about war will be revealed for just what it is…hot air.
Third, Putin probably is happy that he does not have to travel as he seems to be in a weak political position at home after the Wagner Group rebellion.
Putin’s refusal to accept the invitation saved Russia from humiliation on two continents.