Mar 23, 2022 - World

Putin's climate envoy resigns over Ukraine invasion and leaves Russia

Anatoliy Chubais in Moscow in October 2017.
Anatoly Chubais in Moscow in October 2017. Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Anatoly Chubais, Vladimir Putin's appointed climate envoy, resigned from his position and left the country, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Chubais, who became a prominent economic reformer after the fall of the Soviet Union, resigned and fled in protest over Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, becoming the most senior Russian official to do so, Bloomberg first reported.

  • In the 1990s, Chubais oversaw the privatization of the Soviet Union's assets, giving rise to Russia’s class of ultrarich oligarchs, according to the Washington Post.
  • In December 2020, Putin appointed Chubais as special envoy for relations with international organizations for purposes of reaching sustainable development.

What they're saying: Peskov said Chubais resigned "of his own free will," but did not speculate on the reasons behind his resignation.

  • "This is his own business," Peskov told the Interfax news agency.

The big picture: Chubais resignation and departure came roughly a week after Putin gave a venomous warning to those who oppose the invasion, describing them as "traitors" and "scum" and calling on Russians "to spit them out like a midge that accidentally flew into their mouths," according to Reuters.

  • Russia's Kommersant newspaper published a photo of Chubais recently withdrawing money from an ATM in Istanbul.

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