Putin envoy quits post and leaves Russia in protest over Ukraine invasion

Anatoly Chubais was appointed as Vladimir Putin’s special representative in 2020

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An influential envoy to Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly quit his post and fled the country in protest against the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Anatoly Chubais, a veteran Russian reformer, has left as Putin’s special representative for ties with international organisations, a source has said.

The source added that Mr Chubais had no intention of coming back to Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also confirmed to the RIA Novosti news agency that Mr Chubais had left his post, Reuters reports.

Mr Peskov said: "Yes, Mr Chubais has resigned of his own will. But whether he has left Russia or stayed, that's his personal affair."

Mr Chubais is the most senior Russian figure to step down since the start of the invasion on February 24.

The 66-year-old was appointed as a special representative in 2020, days after resigning as the head of state technology firm RUSNANO, which he had run since 2008.

Anatoly Chubais
Anatoly Chubais
Mr Chubais is the most senior Russian official to leave since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Mr Chubais is the most senior Russian official to leave since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

He was one of a small group of influential economists under Yegor Gaidar who tried to cement Russia's post-Soviet transition that threw tens of millions of former Soviet citizens into poverty.

Mr Chubais was also one of the most prominent Russians of the immediate post-Soviet era, with enemies casting him as the Kremlin puppet master who sold off the assets of a former superpower to a small group oligarchs in the privatisations of the 1990s.

But to supporters, Mr Chubais was a hero who fought to establish a market in Russia - and prevented it from tipping into civil war.

When trouble loomed, it was often Mr Chubais post-Soviet Russia turned to.

In recent years, Mr Chubais has continued to call for economic reform and was one of the most high-profile liberals associated with the Russian government.

Speaking out on the resignation, a Western official who wanted to remain anonymous said: "I think it's encouraging that there are senior members of the Russian political class that are doing such things, but it doesn't lead me to a conclusion that this is in any way undermining the security of Putin and his regime, given the iron grip that he holds together with those at the centre of his power."

Mr Chubais is yet to comment.