Putin faces mutiny as ‘highest-level official’ steps down and abandons Russia over Ukraine

Putin threatening ‘high-risk cyber attacks’ says expert

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Anatoly Chubais, Russia’s climate envoy and a major architect of Russia’s reforms following the fall of the Soviet Union has quit his position. This resignation marks the highest-profile protest by a Russian over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Danil Bochkov, a Russia-Europe-China expert tweeted: “Russian climate envoy and 1990s reformer Anatoly Chubais has stepped down and left the country, citing his opposition to operation in Ukraine, becoming the highest-level official to break with the Kremlin over Ukraine.”

Previously, Mr Chubais served as the former President Boris Yeltsin’s chief of staff.

Sources claim that Mr Chubais resigned from his post as Mr Putin’s special representative over ties with international organisations.

Days after he quit as the head of state technology firm RUSNANO, which he had run since 2008, he was appointed with this role.

At that position, he was tasked with “achieving goals of sustainable development”.

The source anonymously told Reuters that Mr Chubais resigned over the conflict in Ukraine, and does not intend to return to Russia.

Other reports suggest he has since been spotted withdrawing cash from an ATM machine in Istanbul, well over 1,000 miles away from Moscow.

Mr Chubais is understood to have given Putin his first role in the Kremlin in the mid-1990s.

He was a major prominent economist under Yegor Gaidar, and helped cement Moscow’s transition from the Soviet Union after tens of millions of former Soviet citizens are thrown into poverty.

At the time, he was regarded as one of the most influential people in the Kremlin, especially during the chaos of the immediate post-Soviet era.

His detractors have described him as a Kremlin puppet master of the Kremlin, who was responsible for selling off the assets of the former Soviet superpower to a small group of oligarchs during the privatisations of the 1990s.

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However, Mr Chubais’ supporters praised him as a hero who fought to establish a market in Russia and was instrumental in preventing the country from tipping into civil war.

On February 27, he posted a photo of Boris Nemtsov on his official Facebook page.

The Deputy Prime Minister-cum-opposition activist was assassinated after opposing the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia.

The Moscow Times described the post as having been “interpreted as a veiled comment against the war”.

Today, Reuters reporters managed to get Mr Chubais on the phone, but after being asked to comment on his apparent departure, he hung up.

Even over the past few years, he continued to call for economic reform in Russia and was regarded as one of the most high-profile liberals associated with Putin’s government.

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