Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated a two-part conception of Russian identity in a speech on November 28: a “Russian nation” – claimed to include Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians – at the center 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 December 14.
  • Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated on November 28 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 defense spending.
  • A prominent Russian milblogger continued to highlight mid-level command problems among Russian forces operating on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast, amid continued complaints about weak Russian capabilities and the vulnerability of Russian ground lines of communications (GLOCs) on the east bank.
  • A Russian insider source claimed on November 28 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 Defense Minister Brigadier General Mehdi Farhi announced on November 28 that Russia and Iran finalized the purchase of Russian aircraft.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced near Kupyansk and Avdiivka.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov announced on November 27 that Chechnya formed two new regiments and one battalion subordinated under the Russian Ministry of Defense (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 November 28.

Authors: Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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