February 21, 2024

Italian authorities have reportedly not yet ruled out poisoning in the case of a self-exiled top Kremlin official who suddenly fell ill over the weekend and had to be hospitalized.

Anatoly Chubais’s sudden departure from Russia in March — at the start of Vladimir Putin’s so-called “special military operation” against Ukraine — was widely seen as a sign of opposition to the war by the Kremlin’s influential insider. He never publicly explained the reasons for his departure, but Bloomberg he cited two anonymous sources at the time who said he had come out against the war.

After making headlines for abruptly resigning as a top adviser to Putin and apparently fleeing to Europe, he had largely disappeared from public view until reports emerged last weekend that he had been hospitalized with apparently debilitating symptoms.

In comments to Russian journalist Ksenia Sobchak at the time, Chubais, 67, said he had been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. Sobchak gave an update on his condition on Wednesday, Writing on Telegram that his diagnosis had been confirmed.

“His condition has stabilized, but Anatoly Borisovich is still in intensive care, his legs and arms do not work well, his eye will not close, he has partial facial paralysis,” wrote Sobchak, attributing the update to his wife Chubais, Avdotia Smirnova. .

The Italian newspaper L’Unione Sarda mentionted At the same time Italian authorities are still investigating the cause of Chubais’ sudden illness – and intelligence services are said to be awaiting the results of his blood tests to ensure he was not poisoned.

The local prosecutor questioned Chubais as part of the investigation, according to the report.

The former Rusnano CEO is said to have already shot down speculation that he had been poisoned. “These are very understandable suspicions. But he’s not thinking about it,” a source close to Chubais said according to The Financial Times this week, apparently alluding to the recent poisonings of Putin’s nemesis Alexei Navalny and former spy Sergei Skripal.

Chubais, a close ally of Putin since the 1990s, is a hugely influential figure in Russian politics — in 1996, he even gave Putin, then a nobody, his first Kremlin job.

Although the Kremlin publicly denied his resignation and departure in March, Putin delivered a fiery speech the same month attacking Russians who choose the West over their homeland – using the very same rhetoric he once used to blast Skripal .

“Any people, and especially the Russian people, will always be able to distinguish patriots from scum and traitors and spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouth,” Putin said, before cheering for “self-purification ». he said was happening in Russian society.

His spokesman later clarified that the “purging” Putin described referred to Russians who “disappear from our lives on their own,” either emigrating or resigning from their positions.

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