Russian special envoy resigns, flees the country

Fox News reports that Russian official Anatoly Chubais, in protest of Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, has resigned from his post.

Reports also indicate that Chubais has decided to flee the country.

Specifics

We know for sure that Chubais has resigned in opposition to Russia’s war against Ukraine. But, what is not known for sure is why Chubais has decided to leave the country.

Initially, Bloomberg News reported that Chubais’s departure from Russia was itself part of his protest against Russia’s war against Ukraine. This account, however, was disputed by subsequent reporting from Reuters.

According to Reuters, the specific reason why Chubais left the country remains unclear. The outlet reports that when asked about it, Chubais hung up the phone.

There is, of course, a pretty obvious reason why Chubais likely left the country, namely, to avoid retaliation from Putin, whether it might be in the form of detainment or worse. But, again, this has not been confirmed.

Background

Reports make it clear that Chubais has been a long-time ally of Putin, which is one reason why his sudden resignation is so significant.

In recent times, Chubais has been serving as Putin’s Special Envoy for such issues as climate change and sustainable development. But, his career in the Russian government goes back many years.

One of Chubais’s first major roles was as Deputy Prime Minister for Boris Yeltsin, who, from 1991 to 1999, was the first president of the Russian Federation. By the end of Yeltsin’s stint, Chubais had become the Chief of Staff.

Chubais, from there, went on to work with Putin, focusing specifically on economics. He ended up leading RUSNANO, a state-run technology firm, from 2008 through 2020. He left that post to become Putin’s special representative, tasked with “achieving goals of sustainable development.”

The significance of Chubais’s departure

Fox reports that Chubais’s departure is the “highest-level display of opposition to [Russian] President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine” yet.

It is not, though, the only resignation that we have seen from a Russian government official in protest of the war against Ukraine. Arkady Dvorkovich, the former deputy prime minister, has also recently stepped down from his post atop the state-run Skolkovo Foundation.