Former Putin ally is suddenly hospitalized, raising suspicions of poisoning

A former senior Kremlin adviser who resigned in March, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukrainewas hospitalized on Sunday, 31, in a European country, in critical condition, with symptoms of a rare neurological disorder. Anatoli Chubais67, developed sudden and increasing numbness in his hands and legs, his wife, Avodtia Smirnova, told Russian journalist Ksenia Sobchak.

Chubais himself told Sobchak that he was diagnosed with the rare Guillain-Barré, in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system. However, according to the journalist’s news channel, experts wearing “chemical protective suits” examined the room in which he suddenly fell ill.

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Chubais was a prominent figure in Russian politics and an ally of the president. Vladimir Putin since the 1990s. He oversaw privatizations during the transition from Russia to a market economy, became the chief executive of Russia’s state monopoly of power and took over the reins of growla state-owned technology company.

Anatoli Chubais and Vladimir Putin meet at the official residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, on the outskirts of Moscow.
Anatoli Chubais and Vladimir Putin meet at the official residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, on the outskirts of Moscow. Photograph: Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via REUTERS – 11/07/2016

More recently, he served as Putin’s international climate envoy. He left that post – and Russian territory – in March, without stating a reason, although the decision is believed to have to do with his opposition to the invasion of Ukraine. He is one of the highest-ranking Russian officials who has resigned from Putin’s government since February.

The current location of Anatoli Chubais has not been released.

It is unclear what became of him, although news of his sudden illness has brought attention to a series of episodes in which Kremlin opponents were poisoned.

The opposition politician Alexei Navalni was poisoned in 2020 with the chemical agent Novichok. In 2015, the opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza also suffered symptoms consistent with poisoning.

Alexander Litvinenkoa former agent of the FSB – the successor agency of the KGB – died of radioactive polonium 210 poisoning in London in 2006.

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