Controversial 1990s Russian reformer hospitalized – media – RT Russia and the former Soviet Union


Anatoly Chubais would be treated in Italy after falling ill during a trip to Sardinia

Several sources reported that former Kremlin Chief of Staff Anatoly Chubais was taken to hospital in Italy. He was one of Russia’s longest-serving senior officials before stepping down in March.

Chubais, a driving force behind Russian reforms and privatizations in the 1990s, reportedly developed a serious health problem last week. The news was first reported by Russian socialite, journalist and former presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who is a friend of the family.

He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological condition, Sobchak wrote on social media on Sunday, adding that he was in stable but moderately serious condition in an intensive care unit.

The 67-year-old man is being treated in a hospital in the town of Olbia, on the island of Sardinia, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera announced on Monday. He may have been vacationing in the popular tourist destination when he fell ill, according to the publication.

Reuters cited its own sources as confirming Chubais’ health issues. He also said that a European intelligence agency was « examine the case » which some political and media commentators, such as the Daily Mail in the UK, believe could be caused by poisoning. A source cited by the agency said they did not believe foul play was involved.

The Kremlin commented on the reports expressing sympathy for Chubais and pledging Russian help, if needed.

« I don’t know of any support requests » Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the office of the Russian president, told the media. « The news is definitely sad and we wish him a speedy recovery. »

Chubais is best known for his role in the government of President Boris Yeltsin, which he helped usher in the early 1990s sweeping post-Soviet market reforms advised by the United States. They concentrated state ownership in the hands of a relatively small group of new business elites, but this came at the cost of impoverishment and alienation from many ordinary Russians.

He kept a place in the Russian government in the post-Yeltsin era, holding several leadership positions under Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. Chubais was considered a champion of big business and liberal political circles in Russia.

He resigned in late March in what many observers saw as a protest against Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, which has become the triggering point for an ongoing diplomatic and trade rift between Russia and the West.

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