Russia officials hit back at Putin: High-profile ‘signs of dissent’ over Ukraine

Russian soldiers ‘don’t have much spirit for fight left’ says insider

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The war in Ukraine has become the bloodiest conflict of the 21st century, with thousands of people dead and injured as Putin pushes west. His “special military operation” is stagnating, now a month in, and has lost him already shaky support both in the west and at home. Unease is now spreading through senior Russian ranks, where experts have identified dissent igniting at the top.

Anatoly Chubais

Putin’s support network has diminished in recent weeks, with high profile resignations from within the Russian government.

Last week saw the departure of Anatoly Chubais, the Russian Special Representative for Relations with International Organizations.

He, according to Washington-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War, resigned on Thursday, March 23, and “has likely left Russia”.

The Kremlin confirmed the move when representatives announced his “dismissal” a day later, on March 24.

Elvira Nabiullina

Chubais’ successful extraction from Russian official ranks followed an unsuccessful attempt by Elvira Nabiullina.

She was amongst the first prominent Russians to show her discomfort at the invasion early on.

Not long after Putin directed his forces over the border, she was nominated for another five-year term at the bank.

In response, she reportedly offered her resignation, which Putin rejected, leaving her in the driving seat as Russia faces its worst economic crisis since the 20th century.

Gennady Timchenko

The resignation and attempted resignations follow that of longtime Putin ally Gennady Timchenko on March 21.

The Russian oligarch resigned from the board of national gas producer Novatek on Monday.

He was one of several billionaires targeted by western sanctions packages, notably featuring in the EU and UK’s.

Novatek did not officially clarify why the sixth-richest Russian had left.

Maria Baronova

As officials and businessmen slip from his grasp, Putin is also losing support from state-backed media.

In early March, Russia Today’s editor-in-chief and former activist Maria Baronova left her post.

She cited the “totalitarian” Putin government’s invasion of Ukraine, adding that she would remain in Moscow with her family.

Writing on Telegram, she said: “Our granddads didn’t fight for this. And now they’ve been betrayed.”

Tugan Sokhiev

On a more local level, a prominent Moscow music director has also resigned.

While not an official, Tugan Sokhiev is a high-profile figure in the Russian capital’s music scene.

He announced a decision to resign “with immediate effect” on March 6 from cultural institution the Moscow theatre.

Mr Sokhiev added that he felt under pressure to leave following calls to take a stance against the war in Ukraine.

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