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Putin Replaces Defense Minister in Rare Cabinet Shake-up

WorldPutin Replaces Defense Minister in Rare Cabinet Shake-up

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia replaced his minister of defense on Sunday with an economist, shaking up his national security team for the first time since his invasion of Ukraine and signaling his determination to put Russia’s war effort on an economically sustainable footing.

Mr. Putin kept the minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, in his inner circle, tapping him to run the country’s security council — a position giving Mr. Shoigu close access to the president but little direct authority. Mr. Shoigu will replace Nikolai P. Patrushev, a former K.G.B. colleague of Mr. Putin, who the Kremlin said would be moved to another position to be announced in the coming days.

Andrei R. Belousov, an economist who had served as first deputy prime minister since 2020 and long been seen as one of Mr. Putin’s most trusted economic advisers, was nominated to become the new defense chief.

The Kremlin said Russia’s ballooning defense budget warranted putting an economist in charge, and that Mr. Belousov would help make the Russian military “more open to innovation.”

The cabinet shifts represented a rare overhaul for Mr. Putin, who tends to avoid rash changes, and they could mark a turning point in Russia’s more than two-year war in Ukraine.

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