Russia’s climate envoy Anatoly Chubais has resigned and left the country, citing his opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the situation, becoming top -level officials to crack down on the Kremlin over the invasion.
Chubais, 66, was one of the few economic reformers of the 1990s era to remain in the Putin government and has maintained close ties with Western officials. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Known as the architect of 1990s Russian privatization, Chubais gave Putin his first Kremlin job in the mid-1990s and initially welcomed his rise to power at the end of the decade. Under Putin, Chubais took top positions in large state corporations until the president named him envoy for sustainable development last year.
Chubais announced his resignation in a letter to colleagues and friends on Tuesday, according to people who saw him. Last week, he hinted at a dark view, saying in a post on Facebook on the anniversary of Yegor Gaidar’s death that the economic reformist partner “understood strategic risk better than I did and I was wrong.”
In his 2006 book, “Death of the Empire,” Gaidar warned of the temptation of imperial nostalgia for the Soviet Union that he saw grow under Putin. “It is not difficult to convince the public that a state that suddenly collapsed can be rebuilt as quickly as that,” he wrote. “It’s an illusion, dangerous.”
Since the war, the government has increased pressure on domestic critics of the invasion. Putin warned on March 16 that he would rid Russia of the “garbage and traitors” he accused of working secretly for the U.S. and its allies. Faced with the economic downturn, the Russian leader accused the West of wanting to destroy Russia.
“Any person, and especially Russians, will always be able to tell patriots from garbage and traitors and spit on them like a midge that accidentally flies into their mouths,” Putin said. “I am confident that this natural and necessary self -cleansing of society will only strengthen our country, our unity, solidarity and our readiness to face any challenge.”
Last week, Arkady Dvorkovich, who was a senior economic adviser to Dmitry Medvedev during his presidency and deputy prime minister until 2018, resigned as head of the government -backed Skolkovo technology fund after condemning the invasion. Dvorkovich, who is also president of the International Chess Federation, was one of several former senior officials who were vocal against the war.
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