- Kremlin officials have been banned from resigning, a Russian independent media outlet says.
- According to iStories, there is concern that resignations could hobble the government.
- Those who do try to leave are threatened with prosecution, according to the report.
High-ranking Russian officials have been banned from resigning over fears that their departure could tip the government into chaos, according to a report.
The ban was imposed after a number of top government officials expressed a desire to resign after the start of the Ukraine war, four sources speaking to Russian independent investigative outlet iStories said.
Those who do try to leave are threatened with prosecution, according to the report.
“There are many who want [to leave] after the start of the war. If everyone leaves, control will be lost,” said one source, who was described as an acquaintance of an official in the Kremlin’s Presidential Administrations.
According to the source, the Kremlin sees the desire to quit as a sign of betrayal and officials have been tasked with demonstrating unity by preventing an exodus of civil servants.
“I know of at least two cases where governors tried to leave their posts, but they were not just prohibited by the Internal Policy Department (of the presidential administration), it was also hinted at that they could face criminal prosecution,” a former official with Russian domestic intelligence agency the FSB told the outlet.
The report said that under the mobilisation decree signed by President Vladimir Putin in September 2022, FSB officials are banned from resigning even after their contract expires.
Because the ban on resignations is both illegal and informal, there are exceptions for cases where an official is seriously ill, or is suspected of corruption, said the report.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the report, describing it as an unfounded rumor, Russian state media outlet RIA Novisti reported.
According to the Moscow Times, the Kremlin has also placed restrictions on which government officials can travel abroad amid fears of defections.”Despite the ongoing conflict, sometimes Putin himself has to review all these lists and figure out who is going abroad and for what purpose,” a Kremlin official told the Times.
Russia’s military continues to experience steep casualty rates. In March, the country was losing an estimated 776 soldiers a day, which dropped to 568 in April, according to UK intelligence.
According to The Washington Post, up to a million Russians may have fled the country after the government launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
This has raised concerns in Russia of a “brain drain,” as many who fled were highly-educated and working in skilled professions.
The Kremlin has clamped down on expressing opposition to the Ukraine war, introducing draconian laws outlawing dissent, and jailing scores of critics.
In the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, Anatoly Chubais, a Kremlin diplomat, quit his post and left Russia in protest at the war and later fell ill with a mystery illness.
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