1. Russia

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Now in Even More Select Company, Russians Say. He Used to Be in the G-8; Now, He’s One of Four Chiefs of State Indicted by the ICC

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 18 – Vladimir Putin has always aspired to be at the very top of the international order, and now there is evidence that he has achieved his goal. He used to be merely one of the chiefs of state in the G-8 but now he’s one of the four of them indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

            That is just one of the anecdotes Russians are telling about Putin’s indictment that have been collected by Moscow journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova ( Three others are perhaps equally instructive about how Russians view the indictment and its consequences:

·       After the indictment, it is going to be hard for Putin to attend meetings even with other Russians as he will always be thinking about which of their number is planning to hand him over to the ICC.

·       Putin can take some comfort from the fact that after the ICC indicted Muammar Gadafi, the Libyan leader lived another four months in peace.

·       The Kremlin’s statement that it doesn’t recognize the ICC warrant reminds Russians of the anecdote that the head didn’t recognize the guillotine but then rolled off the chopping block.


Other Russian anecdotes circulating this week include:


·       Russians are being urged to get out of their comfort zone and look around. Then they will know that there is no comfort but the zone, the Russian word for prison camps, is still very much in place.

·       Putin is telling the truth when he says there won’t be a mobilization order. Instead, there will be a special military operation to deliver citizens to the front.

·       Russia has two external allies – China and North Korea – and two internal ones – Prigozhin and the sledgehammer.

·       Statements by Duma deputies show that there are far more than 5.6 million Russians with mental problems.

·       Russian scientists have finally answered the eternal Russian questions: who is to blame and what is to be done? The answer is simple: no one is to blame and therefore there is nothing to do.

Window on Eurasia — New Series

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