The Kremlin is losing Anatoly Chubais, the influential “father of Russian capitalism” – Liberation

War between Ukraine and Russiacase

The former economy minister, until recently Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for climate change, resigned from his post and fled Russia because of his opposition to the war.

This is weight loss for the Kremlin. According to Bloomberg, later confirmed by Reuters and a number of Russian media, Anatoly Chubais, Vladimir Putin’s special representative to international organizations on sustainable development, left. The 66-year-old is said to have resigned due to his opposition to the war in Ukraine and has since fled abroad. Some rumors spread, in particular, by the Russian economic newspaper Kommersant, he is said to have been seen on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday. The Kremlin spokesman confines himself to confirming his resignation, but does not say whether he went abroad or not. As for the main stakeholder contacted by Reuters, he has so far remained silent.

Not a single figure of the scale of Anatoly Chubais has yet deserted since the beginning of the war. Because a sixty-year-old man is not just anyone. For many Russians, Chubais is the face of the transition from communism to a globalized economy. The son of a former soldier, with a diploma in economics in his pocket, he entered the government in 1991, immediately after the collapse of the USSR, under President Boris Yeltsin.

Creator of Russian billionaires

His tasks in the Kremlin can be summed up in two words: to privatize the economy. A 180 degree turn after seven decades of communism. Anatoly Chubais is not going with tweezers: in a few years he will hand over almost 80% of the Russian economy into the hands of the private sector. An act for which he received the nickname “the father of Russian capitalism.”

This new policy does little for the majority of the population, who remain poor, but benefits a small minority, who become richer. A new class of billionaires is emerging in Russia that has been talked about since the beginning of the war in Ukraine: the all-powerful oligarchs.

His reforms did not only bring him friends. in Financial Timeswho met him in November 2004, summarizes: “Few people in Russia arouse such public hatred and personal admiration as Anatoly Chubais.” His main detractors are obviously the poorest Russians, those who did not benefit from his ultra-liberal policies. “Naturally they accuse him of being the root of their constant poverty. His name gradually became associated with everything that was wrong with Russia.” writes a British newspaper. Before recalling the well-known and ironic phrase of Yeltsin: “Chubais is to blame for everything.”

assassination attempt

This hatred would cost an influential minister assassination attempts. IN Financial Times, he assured that he had several contracts behind him. Four months after the article was published, in March 2005, he also miraculously survived an explosive and automatic weapons attack while driving his car near Moscow, as reported at the time. Guardian.

Since the late 1990s and the rise to power of Vladimir Putin, he has continued to maintain close ties with both the Kremlin and Western officials. In particular, he headed a former Russian state-owned energy company and, more recently, a Moscow investment fund specializing in nanotechnology. Before taking up her duties as Special Envoy for Climate in 2020.

If his defection is likely to embarrass the Kremlin, it is nonetheless not surprising that some are using the conflict to their advantage to distance themselves from Vladimir Putin. The Russian President predicted last week that “the natural and necessary self-purification of society” will take place, which will allow “distinguish patriots from scum and spit them out like a mosquito that accidentally got into our mouths.” I’m not sure Chubais likes this comparison, but he left anyway.

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