Multiple prominent Russians resign over war in Ukraine

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — As the war in Ukraine enters its second month, several Russian public figures have left their jobs, a signal that the country may be more divided than initially thought.

Earlier this week, Anatoly Chubais resigned from his position as Vladimir Putin’s envoy to international organizations for sustainable development. Chubais is not the first state official to resign over the war with Ukraine but his departure is one of the most striking.

“He’s someone that most Russians will know of, will know what he looks like, will see this as a very serious defection from the Putin team,” said Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Although he hasn’t commented publicly, reports said Chubais stepped down because of the war.

Kupchan thinks it’s a sign that Putin may be losing support from some members of his inner circle.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say the wheels are coming off, but they’re starting to come off,” said Kupchan.

On Friday, Russia raised its official number of military losses in Ukraine to just under 1,400, a significantly lower estimate than NATO figures, which put Moscow’s losses between 7,000 and 15,000 soldiers.

And these aren’t just any soldiers. Ukraine has reported killed several high-ranking Russian military officers, which has, in turn, caused dissent among the Russians, even on the battleground.

‘It’s unprecedented, the number of senior officers that have been killed,” retired Marine officer Hal Kempfer said on Friday’s “The Donlon Report.” “Overall, what you’re seeing is the slow loss of unit cohesion across all of the Ukraine for the Russian forces.”

Even if the Russian estimates are true, the progress of Putin’s army has slowed in recent days. In some cases, Ukrainian troops have launched successful counteroffensives, even sinking a Russian supply ship. All of it could spell trouble for Russian morale on the ground and back home.

The departure of Chubais, along with Arkady Dvorkovoich, who previously served as Russia’s deputy prime minister and recently stepped down as the chair of the state-backed Skolkovo Foundation, could encourage other high ranking officials to do the same.

“A message is being sent to the Kremlin that prominent, influential Russians are saying enough. I can’t take it anymore. I’m done,” said Kupchan.

Lilia Gildeeva and Zhanna Agalakova, two high profile broadcast journalists in Russia, have also left their posts at state-run news channels. Both walked away because they could no longer support Putin’s propaganda.

“We have come to a point when on TV, on the news, we’re seeing the story of only one person — or the group of people around him. All we see are those in power. In our news, we don’t have the country. In our news, we don’t have Russia,” Agalakova said.

The majority of Russians will not be made aware of the resignations but Kupchan said the decisions to leave are signs that the system could be starting to crack.

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