The claim that sanctions, the ICC arrest warrant against President Putin, and other unfriendly actions by the West have had no effect on Russian political reality is fundamentally false.

After the collapse of the USSR, the new economic elites of Russia aligned themselves firmly with the West. Flattering themselves that they would be whole-heartedly embraced by the Western global aristocracy, they felt little solidarity with their less-fortunate compatriots, and were happy to enable the merciless colonial exploitation of Russia that prevailed in the last decade of the 20th century. The country plunged into chaos, and the poverty of the ordinary people became a stark contrast to the glitter of the oligarchy.

It could not go on like this for long. The excesses of the exploiters provoked the rise of a new political class, determined to restore the nation's sovereignty, and, after Putin came to power, the country began the long hard crawl back to self-respect. Amongst the first signs of this was a new determination to rein in the most odious oligarchs, some of whom were forced to relinquish the assets acquired so cheaply during the mis-managed privatizations. Some even left the country, bitterly complaining that the times had turned against them.

At that time, a uniquely Russian system of social relations had become the norm. This resembled neither the principles of socialism nor those of Western democracy, and still treated the people of Russia as the object, rather than a subject, of politics. Nonetheless, at least some of the new political elites were aware that without social consolidation it would be impossible to withstand the supremely challenging geopolitical and geo-economic conditions of the 21st century.

Comment: To get a little overview of changes in the first 20 years of Putin being the leader of Russia, see: 20 Years Of Putin: His Top Domestic & Foreign Policy Successes

NATO expansion, Georgia's Western-backed aggression against South Ossetia, and events in Syria and Libya demonstrated that a time of tough decisions was coming. Undoubtedly this meant that the very new "aristocracy" would be forced out of its comfort zone. Such a turn of events did not suit many; they simply were not ready for it, and continued to hope that they could evade problems with the traditional Russian "happy-go-lucky attitude", or placate the West in exchange for the required betrayal of their own people. Yet by the fall of 2022 it had become clear that the globalist West had no intention of negotiating with anyone, and that everything that was unfolding in Ukraine was part of a well-planned and coordinated campaign, aimed at no less than the physical destruction of the Russian Federation as an independent state.

International Criminal Court
An awakening has come about. Both the pro-Western "liberals" and the "patriots" had an epiphany. The first ones were divided into those who left the country and tried to salvage the cash they had accrued, those who openly sided with the globalists in the expectation that they would be rewarded with the West's victory, and those who had made common cause with Putin. The patriotic, conservative part of the Russian elite was left with no choice but to side with the government.

At this point, the West seems to have made a crucial mistake in the implementation of its plan. In all fairness, it should have left a window of opportunity for moderate liberals and conservatives alike. As the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu wrote, "When you start a battle, try to make sure that the enemy is in the lowlands, the sun shines in his eyes, there is a river behind his back, but necessarily with a ford to escape by, and your rear must be strong." Whether greed has blinded Western strategists, or whether their intellectual level has fallen so far, it is hard to say. Using the language of Sun Tzu, their actions can be described as follows - instead of the sun behind their back they proceeded to impose the most rigorous sanctions, whilst instead of the sublime they created the most virulent anti-Russian propaganda. They decided that the fortress of the rear will be well provided by repression and total surveillance. As for the river, it exists, but behind the backs of both parties. This is the modern model of the world economy. There is no ford to be seen.

Even that part of the Russian liberal elite which had scuttled off to the West has been bewildered by the turn of events. A few days ago, a private conversation between two well-known representatives of the "new Russian aristocracy", the entertainment promoter, Iosif Prigozhin, (HINT: Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of PMC Wagner, is another person) and the former oligarch and Russian Senator, Farhad Akhmedov, was published online. The conversation followed an interesting and revealing trajectory. Initially, they complained vociferously, and predictably, about Putin and his entourage. About a third of the conversation were swear words. However, as the conversation continued, it became clear that they were equally indignant about how the the West had treated them. How could it be that they, true liberals and ardent supporters of globalization, should be placed under sanctions? In the end, the friends concluded that they should remain quiet in the hope that they would be forgotten, or that "something would change". The exchange is an excellent demonstration of how the delusions of the liberal Russian elites have been shaken by recent events.

Iosif Prigozhin

A picture of Iosif Prigozhin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of PMC Wagner, is a different person.
Even prominent politicians have changed their tune. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, was previously known as a moderate liberal, and a cautious diplomat. In recent months, he has become an ardent conservative patriot, using fiery rhetoric that was quite unimaginable six months ago.
"Generally speaking, to put it simply, the Americans have gone off the rails. And it is not right to be deferential to them. Although military contacts are necessary, of course. Especially against the backdrop of American bastards like Senator Graham claiming to shoot down Russian planes. By the way, air accidents sometimes happen to such critters, too."

"Take this shitty, unnecessary ICC, created on the basis of the Rome Statute, to which the major states have not joined. Whom has it brought to justice?

Three dozen people no one knows about. Sudan's president spit on these charges and, despite a military coup in his own country, is not available for "justice." The others are not worth mentioning at all. In other words, the effectiveness of the ICC is zero. This is not the ad hoc Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals. Or even the questionable Yugoslavia tribunal. And understandably so.

There are two cases in which a country and its leaders can be judged: 1) when the country itself is greatly weakened, has almost lost its sovereignty...... 2) when the country has lost a war and surrendered. It is impossible to do otherwise. And everyone understands that. By the way, the most discredited episode that killed the near-zero credibility of the court was that of the U.S. crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. The court crapped all over itself and could do nothing. Obviously, the complaints from the U.S. that we haven't ratified the Rome Statute at all, fuck off pigmies, persuaded the judges follow their own self-interest, unrelated to justice.

And then they decided to try the president of another nuclear power that is not a member of the ICC on the same grounds as the U.S. and other countries. Obviously, the harshest possible input came from the same Pindostan (this insulting name of the United States uses in Russia, the term came up in 1999 during the conflict in Kosovo, allegedly so Russian paratroopers began to call US soldiers of Peacekeeping contingent - "pindosi"). It is clear that there is no practical value, but thank you for remembering.

But the consequences for international law will be monstrous. After all, this is a collapse of the foundations and principles of law. Including the postulates of the inevitability of responsibility. Now no one will go to any international bodies, all will agree among themselves. All the stupid decisions of the UN and other structures will burst at the seams. There will be a grim sunset of the whole system of international relations. Trust is exhausted.

Also. The judges of the ICC are cheering in vain. Look, we are brave, we didn't shirk standing up to the biggest nuclear power. Alas, gentlemen, everyone walks under God and missiles. It is quite possible to imagine a hypersonic missile being fired from the North Sea from a Russian ship at the Hague courthouse. It cannot be shot down, alas. And the court is only a miserable international organization, not the population of a NATO country. That's why they won't start a war either. They are afraid. And no one will be sorry. So, gentlemen judges, look carefully to the sky...".
It seems that this is just an emotional threat from Mr. Medvedev. However, the key point of his statements is that there has been a final collapse of the system of international law. Henceforth independent actors in international relations must now rely either on their respective national law, or on bilateral agreements. The Russian legal system has already begun to respond to this. Since the ICC's decision became public, the Kremlin has been contemplating the possibility of prosecuting ICC judges and Western politicians under Russian law.

The first such steps have been applications to the Russian investigative authorities to open a criminal case against none other than US President Joe Biden. These were filed by representatives of the regional authorities in the new territories that acceded to the Russian Federation in the fall of 2022. The joint application has been filed by Yury Guskov, Minister of Economic Development of the Zaporozhye region, and Svetlana Shevchenko, Minister of Food Policy. They did this as eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes committed there by the President of the United States.

Putin versus Biden
The applicants claim that Biden violated more than ten articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. These include: calls for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation; nationalistic statements about the superiority of Americans; the supply of weapons to neo-Nazis in Ukraine; calls to overthrow legal authorities, and collusion with cartels and other practices enabling unfair competition. They also cite the destruction of infrastructure (Nord Stream-2), the discrediting of the Russian Armed Forces, the taking of hostages, and the creation of life-threatening conditions for Russian citizens living abroad, including athletes, pregnant women and children with disabilities.
"This is our personal civic initiative - mine and Svetlana Shevchenko's. This statement is a measure to counteract the sanctions pressure of the collective West. We spoke in defense of Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin from false accusations, in defense of the Zaporizhzhya region of Russia and the sanctions pressure on the governor Yevgeny Balitsky, in defense of other individuals and companies caught in the sanctions," said Yuri Guskov.
The investigative bodies of the Russian Federation accepted this statement and began legal procedures. Of course, this is clearly a political action, but at the same time it is also a signal that the political elites of the Russian Federation are ready for an uncompromising struggle. It is difficult to imagine that this action was carried out without the approval of the federal centre.

In general, the West has left the Russians no room for manoeuvre, openly stating that their intention is the destruction of the Russian state. Indeed, it has become apparent - according to their own words - that they have been systematically working towards this for many years. Yet it is becoming clear that their actions are provoking unintended consequences, which are systematically destroying their ability to realise their plans.

Globalists have managed to do in a year what the Kremlin could not do for 20 years. Western scheming and vindictiveness have seriously weakened the appeal of the liberal mind-virus, and consolidated the Russian people, the elite and the bureaucratic apparatus. This is probably the first time in the country's contemporary history that the interests of these three groups have fully coincided. The question remains open as to whether Russia has time to reconsolidate within the framework of the new architecture of society. Yet the more pressure there is, the faster these processes will develop. The success of the spring offensive by the AFU, with overt NATO support, could play a cruel joke on Western strategists. This will trigger reactive processes in Russian society, but not at all the ones that Washington and Brussels are hoping for. The special military operation would then turn into a third Patriotic War.