Russian special envoy resigns over Ukraine invasion, reportedly flees country

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Russian government official Anatoly Chubais stepped down from his position in the highest-level display of opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Bloomberg reported that Chubais, 66, fled the country after leaving his role in protest, but Reuters contested that claim, saying Chubais has not yet decided to flee and reportedly hung up the phone when asked to comment on the matter. 

His role as Special Envoy – specifically regarding climate and sustainable development – appears a small one, but he has supported and assisted Putin for decades. He first served as Deputy Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin before transitioning to Kremlin Chief of Staff near the end of Yeltsin’s tenure. 

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    FILE PHOTO: Anatoly Chubais, special representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo ( )

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with head of state-owned nanotechnology agency RUSNANO Anatoly Chubais at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, November 7, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. ( )

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    Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (2nd L), accompanied by Head of Russia’s Nanotechnology Agency Anatoly Chubais (3d L), Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov (L) and Government Chief of Staff Sergei Sobyanin (R), visits an exhibition, displaying the products produced by means of nanotechnology, in Moscow September 10, 2010.   REUTERS/Ria Novosti/Pool/Alexei Nikolsky  (RUSSIA – Tags: POLITICS SCI TECH BUSINESS) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED  BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A  SERVICE TO CLIENTS ( )

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    FILE PHOTO: Anatoly Chubais attends a session of the Gaidar Forum 2018 "Russia and the World: values and virtues" in Moscow, Russia January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo ( )

But it was his work as an economic reformer with Putin that would create a truly lasting impression on the privatization of Russia’s industries. Chubais would go on to hold a number of top-level positions at various state companies, including RAO Unified Energy System of Russia. 

Most importantly, Chubais maintained close ties with Western officials, much like his contemporary and former colleague, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. 

Putin’s promise that Russia would “self-cleanse” itself of “traitors” may have driven Chubais to consider his stance on the war and his personal safety. 

His resignation follows that of Arkady Dvorkovich, who served as senior economic advisor to Dmitry Medvedev. Dvorkovich stepped down from his role as the head of a state-backed tech fund after condemning the invasion.  

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