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Prominent Kremlin insider breaks ranks with Putin

March 23, 2022

Anatoly Chubais, who served Vladimir Putin's international envoy, has stepped down and reportedly left the country — the most senior Russian official to quit since the start of the Ukraine war.

Anatoly Chubais attends a session at an international forum held in Russia
Some reports stated that veteran Putin aide Anatoly Chubais has traveled to TurkeyImage: Mikhail Japaridze/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Anatoly Chubais has become the most senior Kremlin official to have quit his job since Russia invaded Ukraine.

"Chubais resigned at his own request. And whether he left or not is his personal business," Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday.

He had been Putin's special envoy to international organizations since 2020 and was also one of the principal architects of Boris Yeltsin's economic reforms of the 1990s.

There have been reports in Russian media that he has traveled to Turkey and sources told the Reuters news agency he doesn't plan to return to Russia.

Powerful figure in post-Soviet Russia

In his book, The Oligarchs, journalist, and author David Hoffman described Chubais as one of the tycoons who owned and ruled Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

EU launches new round of sanctions

Despite more recently calling for economic reform, he never fell out with Putin.

After resigning as the head of state technology firm RUSNANO in 2020, Putin asked him to become the special presidential representative for relations with international organizations to achieve sustainable development goals.

After the war in Ukraine began, he posted a picture of murdered anti-war opposition leader Boris Nemtsov who was shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015.

In his latest Facebook post, he paid homage to fellow economist and comrade-in-arms Yegor Gaidar who also tried to cement Russia's post-Soviet transition.

Chubais rote that since Gaidar's death in 2009, an entire era had passed.

"It seems that Gaidar understood the strategic risks better than I — and I was wrong," Chubais said.

lo/dj (Reuters, Interfax)