I recorded a 14-minute analysis for Times Radio on Monday about Vladimir Putin’s sudden move to replace Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu.

I explain Putin’s motive: far from being on the brink of “victory” in his 26 1/2-month invasion of Ukraine, he is preparing for a protracted war against Kyiv and its international supporters.

To pursue that, he is putting an emphasis on Russia’s economy, under pressure from wartime expenditure and sanctions. So Andrei Belousov, an economic official since 2000 and Deputy Prime Minister since 2020, has the task of ensuring that Putin can keep waging war — and of keeping his position amid internal power struggles in Moscow.