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Reports: Top Putin advisor quits, flees Russia

Russian envoy Anatoly Borisovich Chubais in 2008. (Mitya Aleshkovsky/Wikimedia Commons) | Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 22, 2022. (Kremlin/Released)
March 23, 2022

A top advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin has quit his post at the Kremlin and fled Russia due to his nation’s invasion of Ukraine, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Anatoly Chubais, a Kremlin special envoy who previously served as chief of staff to former President Boris Yeltsin, does not plan to return to Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine, one source said.

Chubais is the highest-ranking Russian official to publicly sever ties with Putin over the war with Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Chubais has resigned his position. A Retuers reporter reached Chubais by phone, but the former Putin advisor immediately hung up.

Chubais was also part of a small group of economists who worked under Yegor Gaidar to make permanent Russia’s post-Soviet Union transition that pushed tens of millions of citizens into poverty.

According to Reuters, Chubais was regarded by enemies as the “Kremlin puppet master” in the post-Soviet era, whereas supporters saw him as a champion of Russia who helped stop the nation from sliding into civil war.

Recently, Chubais called for economic reform, and after the invasion, he wrote that an era had passed since the death of Gairdar nearly 13 years ago.

“It seems that Gaidar understood the strategic risks better than I – and I was wrong,” Chubais said.

Last week, former Kremlin aide and ex-deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich resigned as chair of the Skolkovo Foundation after speaking out against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Arkady Dvorkovich decided to terminate the powers of chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation and focus on the development of educational projects,” Skolkovo said in a statement, according to The Moscow Times.

Dvorkovich did not provide any details on his departure, but applauded the foundation for helping develop a “huge number of successful start-ups.”

“Skolkovo has always been at the forefront of innovation in Russia, and today, I am sure, it will make every effort to build our country’s own competitive economy,” he said.

As a rare voice of dissent from Russian officials, Dvorkovich publicly condemned the war during an interview with Mother Jones.

“Wars are the worst things one might face in life… including this war,” he said. “My thoughts are with Ukrainian civilians.”

Russian authorities have swiftly cracked down on anti-war protesters since the start of the conflict, arresting thousands of peaceful demonstrators throughout the country.

The global rights watchdog accused Russian police of using “excessive force,” against protesters while detaining them, and, in several cases, inflicting “abuse amounting to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment, on those in custody.”