Putin’s special representative Anatoli Chubais resigns and leaves Russia

Anatoli Chubais, a veteran adviser and special envoy to President Vladimir Putin, resigned from his post over the war in Ukraine and left Russia with no intention of returning, two sources said Wednesday in a story confirmed by Russia’s state-run Tass news agency. He is the first senior official to break with the Kremlin since Putin launched his invasion a month ago.

Chubais was until now Russia’s special representative for sustainable development. For years he was one of the main architects of Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms in the 1990s and also Putin’s boss before Putin became Russian president. With Putin’s rise to power, Chubais held senior positions in politics and state-owned enterprises. From December 2020 he served as the Kremlin’s special envoy to international organizations.

At the beginning of the invasion, Andrey Kortunov, another Kremlin advisor, broke ranks to call for a ceasefire in Ukraine, a war he called “shameful” for Russia. It is unusual to see Russian political leaders publicly criticize Putin, who has called those within his country who have spoken out against the war “traitors” and “scum.”

Four weeks into a war that has driven a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes, Russia has failed to take a single major Ukrainian city, while Western sanctions have shut it out of the world economy.

After failing in what Western countries say was an attempt to seize Kiev and overthrow the government, Russian forces suffered heavy losses, remained frozen for at least a week on most fronts and face supply problems and fierce resistance.

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