Anatoly Chubais, longtime aide to Vladimir Putin, resigns amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

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The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for liaison with international organizations has resigned. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Anatoly Chubais had submitted his resignation.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which cited two people familiar with the situation as saying that Chubais had stepped down over his opposition to the war in Ukraine. CBS News has not confirmed the reason for Chubais’ resignation.

Peskov wouldn’t say if Chubais had left the country, saying it’s his private business. But Bloomberg and Reuters, citing multiple sources, reported Chubais had left Russia.

Chubais, the architect of Russia’s post-Soviet privatization campaign, has served at a variety of top official jobs during the past three decades.

His latest job envisaged contacts with international organizations to pursue the goals of sustainable development — a broad portfolio that allowed him to maintain contacts with top foreign officials and organizations.

After Russia began its invasion last month, Chubais posted a photo of Boris Nemtsov, a leading Russian opposition figure who was shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015. Even without a caption, it was seen as a powerful statement from a Moscow insider.

Chubais’ resignation appears to reflect growing divisions among top Russian officials over the military operation in Ukraine.

In the 90s, Chubais was seen as the point-man in efforts to liberalize Russia’s economy under President Boris Yeltsin. But Chubais’ enemies saw him as a mastermind behind dubious privatization deals.

Reuters reported Wednesday that Chubais hung up the phone when contacted by the news agency.

Chubais’ resignation comes a week after Putin unleashed a diatribe at those who oppose his courses as Russian forces face stiff resistance in Ukraine.

“The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths — spit them out on the pavement,” Putin said last week. “I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion and readiness to respond to any challenges.”

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