First Big Defector Hits Vladimir Putin as Personal Adviser Quits and Flees Russia over War

Russian President Vladimir Putin has just been hit with his first major defector as his personal adviser has quit and fled Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

Anatoly Chubais, who also serves as Russia’s climate envoy, resigned and left the country citing his opposition to Putin’s war in Ukraine, multiple media outlets are reporting.

Chubais is the highest-level official to break with Moscow and Putin over the invasion so far.

There are already many reports of a brain drain happening in Russia, where people with skills that pay in the West, like computer science, have left the country.

That brain drain could set the country back a lot more than sanctions.

Chubais is also no ordinary Kremlin insider, however.

He gave Putin his first Kremlin job in the mid-1990s.

Chubais, 66, was part of the team that reformed the Russian economy after the fall of the iron curtain.

From The Moscow Times:

The state-run TASS news agency cited a source close to Chubais as confirming that he resigned from his post.

Chubais is already in Turkey and doesn’t plan to return to Russia, two sources close to him told the RBC news website.

Chubais had been the Kremlin’s climate envoy, attempting to push Russia to adopt more green policies in the face of fierce domestic opposition, a powerful energy lobby and a president who has previously questioned the man-made nature of climate change.

He was a powerful figure in the early 1990s, the architect of Russia’s controversial privatization drive and its transition to a market economy. He famously brought Putin into the Kremlin, giving him his first job in Moscow.

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According to Reuters:

Anatoly Chubais, a veteran Russian reformer, has left his post as President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for ties with international organisations, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Chubais had left the country and had no intention of coming back.

Chubais is the highest-profile figure to step down since Russia began what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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