Fears ex-Putin adviser’s illness is ‘poisoning’

Moscow: A former adviser to Vladimir Putin, who left Russia after it invaded Ukraine, is in hospital with a rare neurological disorder amid fears he was poisoned.

Anatoly Chubais, a key figure in Russia’s post-Soviet economic transformation, held a largely ceremonial role as Putin’s climate adviser until he left Moscow in March in what was seen as a tacit protest against the war in Ukraine.

Anatoly Chubais at a Nanotechnology Forum in Moscow, in 2009.

Anatoly Chubais at a Nanotechnology Forum in Moscow, in 2009. Credit:AP

However, he has not denounced the president or the invasion publicly.

A family friend of Chubais said the Belarus-born 67-year-old was taken to intensive care in a European clinic and has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Ksenia Sobchak, a television presenter, said she received a message from Chubais, describing his condition as “moderate” and “stable”.

His wife, Avdotya Smirnova, said Chubais was taken to hospital last week when he suddenly felt ill and lost sensation in his limbs. Hazmat-clad officials had inspected Chubais’s hospital room according to Sobchak.

When asked about Chubais’s health on Monday, Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said he was unaware of his condition and extended his good wishes. “This certainly is sad news. We are wishing him a speedy recovery,” he said.


It was confirmed that after falling ill, reportedly while at a holiday resort in northern Sardinia, Chubais was taken to the Mater Olbia private hospital in the town of Olbia. Doctors would not be drawn on what he was suffering from but appeared to dismiss speculation that he might have been poisoned.

“He is improving. We are carrying out routine tests. There’s no spy story,” Marcello Giannico, the director general of the hospitals, said.

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