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Putin Aide Chubais Quits Kremlin, Leaves Russia

Anatoly Chubais. Andrey Lyubimov / Moskva News Agency

The Kremlin’s climate envoy and veteran reformer Anatoly Chubais has quit his position and left Russia over his opposition to the war in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. 

The bombshell departure, according to two unnamed insiders cited by Bloomberg, makes Chubais the highest-profile figure to break with President Vladimir Putin over his decision to invade Ukraine. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed later Wednesday that Chubais had resigned from his post, but didn't specify why. 

"Whether he left or not is his personal matter," Peskov said.

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

The Kommersant business daily published a photo purportedly showing Chubais at an ATM in Istanbul.

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, and had managed to stay in favor through more than two decades of Putin’s rule as many other leading figures from the Boris Yeltsin era were pushed out. 

There has been almost no public opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine from the country’s political elite and Putin has branded those who oppose his actions “traitors and scum.”

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