Putin approves Russian budget with record spending on prolonging war – ISW

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on the federal budget for 2024-2026, allocating record spending on the war against Ukraine.

Source: ISW

Details: In his 28 November speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed the concept of what he called "Russian identity", supposedly consisting of two parts: The "Russian nation", which is at the heart of Russian identity and claimed to include Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians; and the broader "Russian world", comprising other non-Eastern Slavic ethnic groups both in modern Russia and in the former lands of the Soviet Union.

Furthermore, Putin signed a law that significantly boosted Russia's spending in 2024, including record expenditures on the army and the defence industry.

The federal budget for 2024 envisages RUB 36,66 trillion (US$412,5 billion) in government spending and a budget deficit of RUB 1,6 trillion (US$9,25 billion)

The report notes that Russia's Finance Ministry reportedly allocated RUB 6,41 trillion (US$72,1 billion) for defence in 2023, although this figure is likely higher, bearing in mind that the lion's share of the Russian budget is still classified.

The roughly one-third or even more of the federal budget allocated to defence spending represents a record high for such expenditures.

Analysts say the federal budget does not cover all of Russia's defence spending, as the Kremlin relies on regional budgets and private businesses to boost funding for ongoing military efforts.

The draft budgets for 2025 and 2026 envisage roughly the same level of spending as the 2024 budget, RUB 34,38 trillion (US$387.9 billion) and RUB 35,59 trillion (US$400,4 billion), respectively, indicating that the Kremlin plans to devote a substantial part of its resources to maintaining the ongoing war against Ukraine.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 28 November:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated a two-part conception of Russian identity in a speech on 28 November: a "Russian nation" – claimed to include Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians – at the centre of Russian identity; and a wider ‘Russian world" including other non-East Slavic ethnicities in both modern Russia and the former territory of the Soviet Union and Russian Empire.

  • Head of the Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill of Moscow stated that Russia needs to "significantly adjust" its migration policies for the "preservation of Russian culture," highlighting the perceived superiority of ethnic Russians to other regional ethnicities.

  • Russian officials appear to be attempting to further disenfranchise migrants living in Russia, likely to support ongoing efforts to coerce migrants into military service while also appeasing increasingly xenophobic Russian ultranationalists.

  • The Kremlin continues to focus heavily on setting informational conditions for the upcoming 2024 Russian presidential elections and will likely formally commence Putin’s "campaign" on 14 December.

  • Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Spokesperson Andrii Yusov stated on 28 November that unspecified actors poisoned GUR Head Kyrylo Budanov’s wife Marianna Budanova.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law significantly increasing Russian federal expenditures in 2024, reportedly including a record level of defence spending.

  • A Russian insider source claimed on 28 November that Russian authorities detained at least three additional Moscow-based Federal Security Service (FSB) employees in connection with a 5-billion-ruble ($55.6 million) bribery case.

  • Iranian Deputy Defence Minister Brigadier General Mehdi Farhi announced on 28 November that Russia and Iran finalised the purchase of Russian aircraft.

  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced near Kupiansk and Avdiivka.

  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov announced on 27 November that Chechnya formed two new regiments and one battalion subordinated under the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and an operational battalion subordinated under Rosgvardia.

  • Occupation administrations in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts signed an agreement to develop closer economic ties with Rostov and Voronezh oblasts on 28 November.

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