Anatoly Chubais, one of the early political mentors of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, has been hospitalized after possibly being poisoned while he was in exile in Italy, according to some reports.
Pro-Western Kremlin Crony and Apparatchik
Chubais is considered a crony and well-integrated in the inner workings of the Putin regime since the dictator came to power in 2000.
At the same time, however, Chubais had the reputation of at least a nominally pro-western modernizer and reformer.
The top-ranking Russian apparatchik is oftentimes referred to as the first who “talent-spotted” Putin for big politics in the 1990s, when the latter was only a former low-lever ex-KGB operative.
Before mentoring Putin in the late 1990s, Chubais served as Deputy Prime Minister of Russia under President Boris Yeltsin.
He was in charge of the privatization of the Russian state-owned economy after the collapse of Communism and the breakup of the former Soviet Union in 1991.
It has been unknown where Chubais has been living in self-exile. Though at the beginning of June, he got photographed standing in a supermarket line in Cyprus. Other reports claimed he was spotted in Turkey and Israel.
There are unconfirmed reports that he may have been poisoned, presumably by Putin’s regime, in Italy.
Chubais joins a long list of Russians formerly in high places who moved abroad and suddenly aren't feeling very well. https://t.co/bd2iCHYVdL
— rothrock (@KevinRothrock) July 31, 2022
Chubais, the father of Russias economic turn in the 1990s? The one that fled via Turkiye?
Lemme guess: Novichok or Polonium?
— Ekkehard Endruweit (@e_endruweit) July 31, 2022
The Kremlin called the reports of Chubais’ hospitalization “sad news” and wished him a speedy recovery.https://t.co/jCCqj5doxJ
— The Moscow Times (@MoscowTimes) August 1, 2022
Russian official, Anatoly Chubais, who fled Russia after the start of the Ukraine invasion is 'feared poisoned' according to the Daily Mail. https://t.co/riRnwYhWHD
— Bill Browder (@Billbrowder) July 31, 2022
Putin’s Long History of High-Profile Poisonings
The Putin regime has a well-documented history of using chemical weapons, such as nerve agents to assassinate at home or take out abroad enemies of the dictator.
This started from the 2006 murder of ex-intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko in Britain to the poisoning of another ex-agent, Sergey Skripal also in the UK, in 2018, and the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny in 2020.
The latter two were carried out by Russian military intelligence officers using the Novichok nerve agent.
According to Russian journalist Ksenia Sobchak, who happens to be Putin’s goddaughter, Chubais has been admitted into intensive care in a country in Western Europe, as cited by The Daily Mail.
The initial diagnosis for 67-year-old Chubais is Guillain-Barré syndrome, which affects limb nerves and can be life-threatening.
However, there are investigations on whether the former Putin mentor hasn’t been poisoned, possibly on the orders of his ex-mentee.
Sobchak said “the diagnosis may change” and the room where the former top-ranking Russian official was when he felt sick has been examined by experts in “chemical protection suits.”
The police in the unspecified country are also interrogating witnesses, she informed.
Sobchak, who also ran against Putin in the last presidential election in Russia, amid criticism of being a fake liberal opposition activist, quoted Chubais’ wife, Avdotya Smirnova, 56, as saying his condition is “unstable.”
Smirnova explained her husband’s arms and legs all of a sudden “became numb” before he was rushed to the hospital.
Anatoly Chubais in hospital with strange neurological symptoms? Novichok or polonium?
Remember that Chubais knows A LOT about the inner machinery of Putler's regime. If he started to "sing" there could be major repercussions.https://t.co/FqNSSRHRym
— Christian Palme (@ChPalme) July 31, 2022
THE PURGE: Anatoly Chubais, who resigned as a top Putin adviser shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, was hospitalized on Sunday in a western European country. He is in critical condition. Poisoning is suspected.https://t.co/hlByB6TKqM
— Chuck Pfarrer (@ChuckPfarrer) August 1, 2022
Between Chubais' sudden "illness" and another Emilian Gebrev arms depot exploding in Bulgaria, there's starting to be a bit of a Unit 29155 energy in the air.
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) July 31, 2022