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Putin envoy Chubais quits Kremlin role in wake of Russia’s Ukraine invasion


LONDON — An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin has become the first senior Kremlin official to quit since the invasion of Ukraine, Putin’s spokesman said Wednesday.

Anatoly Chubais left his role as Russia’s envoy to international organizations and sustainable development of his own accord, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which cited two people familiar with the situation saying Chubais had left Russia over his opposition to the war. Reuters also cited two anonymous sources saying he had left the country.

Chubais hung up the phone when contacted by Reuters. NBC News has been unable to reach him for comment and has not confirmed his reasons for resigning or whether he has left the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Anatoly Chubais
Chubais was Putin’s boss in the future president’s first Kremlin job.Alexei Druzhinin / Pool via AP file

Chubais was one of the principal architects of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms of the 1990s and held senior business and political roles under Putin. He had been Putin’s special envoy to international organizations since 2020, acting as the climate envoy in the role.

His resignation comes amid strong global backlash to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There has also been some domestic opposition inside Russia as international sanctions and boycotts hit the economy, though Putin has met this with a crackdown on dissent.

Chubais’ resignation would be the first sign of public discord within the country’s ruling elite.

Last week, a former deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, quit his role as the chair of the prestigious tech-focused Skolkovo Foundation, having previously criticized Putin’s invasion. Furthermore, several Russian oligarchs — billionaires with alleged ties to the Kremlin — have broken rank to criticize the war after Western governments began to sanction them and seize their assets.

Putin spoke out against the “scum and traitors” inside Russia who opposed the war, and called for a “necessary self-detoxification of society” in comments last week. Some experts took that as a threat to Russian elites who may be privately against the invasion.

John Lough, an associate fellow at London’s Chatham House think tank, told NBC News at the time that Putin was essentially saying: “Don’t think about having second thoughts. We’re all in this together, and if I go down, you go down.” 

Reuters and Associated Press contributed.



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