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Anatoly Chubais

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with aide Anatoly Chubais (right) in Moscow on March 19, 2019. (Photo: Kremlin/Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian Climate Envoy Reportedly Resigns Over Ukraine Invasion

Anatoly Chubais, a former deputy prime minister who oversaw the lucrative privatization of state enterprises in the 1990s, gave President Vladimir Putin his first Kremlin job 25 years ago.

Brett Wilkins

A top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly resigned over his opposition to Russia's war on Ukraine. 

Bloomberg reports Anatoly Chubais has stepped down as Russian climate envoy, making him the highest-ranking member of Putin's government to resign over the war.

The BBC, citing Russian reports, said Chubais left Russia with his wife for Turkey. Numerous media outlets reported he was photographed using an ATM in Istanbul.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed Chubais' resignation to The Moscow Times, but did not say why he quit.

The Washington Post noted that Chubais had recently marked the anniversary of the assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov—who was murdered after criticizing Putin's annexation of Crimea—on Facebook.

Chubais served terms as deputy prime minister and Kremlin chief of staff during former Russian President Boris Yeltsin's administration, in which he oversaw the privatization of Soviet-era state-owned enterprises. Yeltsin's "privatization czar" was widely criticized for a process in which well-connected individuals acquired former state assets under highly favorable circumstances that created a class of oligarchs at the expense of the Russian people.

According to the Post, Chubais gave Putin his first Kremlin job in 1997. In addition to serving as Putin's international envoy for sustainable development and climate coordination, he also headed the Rusnano Group, a government-backed nanotechnology initiative, from 2008 until 2020.

Very few Russian officials have dared criticize Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine. Last week, Arkady Dvorkovich—a former deputy Russian prime minister who currently serves as president of the International Chess Federation—resigned as head of the state-owned Skolkovo Foundation, which fosters scientific and technological innovation, over Putin's war.

Bloomberg also reports that Elvira Nabiullina, the governor of Russia's central bank, sought to resign over opposition to the war but was told by Putin to remain in her post.

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