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ISW: Putin signs off on Russia’s biggest budget yet

The 2024 budget contains Russia’s largest-ever allocation to defense and law enforcement, reaching 39% of all spending.
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Credit: Anadolu Ajansi

On 27 November, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the 2024 Russian federal budget, allocating 36.66 trillion rubles ($412.5 billion) in state expenses, which is a 13 % increase over 2023’s budget expenditures, ISW updated in its daily report.

According to the ISW’s report, the 2024 budget contains significant increases in defense and law enforcement spending.

The federal budget for the following year accounts for 36.66 trillion rubles ($412.5 billion) in state expenses and a budget deficit of 1.6 trillion rubles ($9.5 billion). While the 2023 budget expenditures amounted to 32.5 trillion rubles ($365.7 billion).

According to the ISW, it means that a third or more of the federal budget goes to defense spending. If true, ISW said, it will represent a record level of Russian defense spending.

“The federal budget does not amount to the entirety of Russian spending on defense, however, as the Kremlin has relied on regional budgets and private business entities to augment funding for the ongoing war effort,” ISW reported.

Business journalists Farida Rustamova and Maksim Tovkaylo said on 15 November that “Russian authorities plan to spend 14 trillion rubles ($157.5 billion) on defense and law enforcement, representing 39% of all federal government spending.”

On 2 October, Reuters reported that 10.78 trillion rubles ($121.3 billion), or 29.4% of the total 2024 budget, would go towards national defense.

On 27 November, Putin also planned budgets for the two following years. The draft budgets for 2025 and 2026 allocate comparable levels of 34.38 trillion rubles ($387.9 billion) and 35.59 trillion rubles ($400.4 billion) respectively.

The Institute for the Study of War assessed that “the Kremlin is planning long-term, high levels of spending to support war efforts in Ukraine.”

Other takeaways from the ISW report:

  • 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 December 14.
  • Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated on 28 November that unspecified actors poisoned GUR Head Kyrylo Budanov’s wife Marianna Budanova.
  • 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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