Highest-Level Russian Official Yet Leaves Russia: Report
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

On Wednesday, news broke that Russian climate envoy Anatoly Chubais, who served as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for ties with international organizations, became the highest-level official to apparently reject Putin’s war against Ukraine and had left Russia.

“He was appointed to the post, which was charged with ‘achieving goals of sustainable development,’ in 2020, days after resigning as the head of state technology firm RUSNANO, which he had run since 2008,” Reuters stated, adding, “Reached by a Reuters reporter, Chubais hung up his phone.”

“Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Chubais had resigned but did not confirm he had left the country. ‘Yes. Chubais resigned of his own free will. But whether he left or did not leave, that’s his business, Peskov told the Interfax news agency,” The Washington Post reported.

“Chubais, 66, is one of the few 1990s-era economic reformers who’d remained in Putin’s government and had maintained close ties with Western officials,” Bloomberg reported. “Known as the architect of Russia’s 1990s privatizations, Chubais gave Putin his first Kremlin job in the mid-1990s and initially welcomed his rise to power at the end of that decade. Under Putin, Chubais took top jobs at big state companies until the president named him envoy for sustainable development last year.”

Chubais reportedly announced his resignation on Tuesday; last week he posted on Facebook a tribute to economic reformer Yegor Gaidar, who served as the acting Prime Minister of Russia between June 1992 and December 1992, arguing that Gaidar “understood the strategic risks better than I did and I was wrong.”

Gaidar warned in his 2006 book, “Death of Empire” of Putin’s desire for empire: “It’s not difficult to convince society that a state that collapsed so suddenly can be just as quickly rebuilt. That’s an illusion, a dangerous one.”

“Chubais was not a member of Putin’s dwindling inner circle of hard-line security and military chiefs, known as the siloviki, or men of power. But his departure underscores the alarm felt by many in Russia’s comfortable urban classes at Putin’s war and his mounting witch-hunt for traitors and ‘fifth columnists,” The Washington Post stated.

On March 16, Putin raged, “Any people, and particularly the Russian people, will always be able to tell the patriots from the scum and traitors and spit them out like a midge that accidentally flew into their mouths.” He continued, “I am convinced that this natural and necessary self-cleansing of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion and readiness to meet any challenge.”

“Last week, Arkady Dvorkovich, a former senior economic advisor to former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and his one-time deputy, also quit his role as chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation,” CNBC noted.

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