The Economy of Russia

Key Indicators

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
GDP $1.30T $1.67T $1.23T $1.48T $1.68T
Unemployment Rate 6.10% 6.40% 8.40% 7.50% 7.30%
Population 142.20M 142.00M 141.90M 140.37M 139.89M

Featured Economic Indicators [ View all 1100 Economic Indicators ]

Gross Domestic Product (Percent change) Gross Domestic Product (U.S. dollars)
Per Capita Gross Domestic Product  (U.S. dollars) GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) (Current international dollar)
Investment (Percent of GDP) Gross national savings (Percent of GDP)
Inflation average consumer prices (Index) Inflation average consumer prices (Percent change)
Inflation (Index) Inflation (Percent change)
Unemployment rate (Percent of total labor force) Labor Force (Persons)
Population (Persons) Government revenue (National currency)
Government revenue (Percent of GDP) Government expenditure (Percent of GDP)
Government net lending/borrowing (Percent of GDP) Government structural balance (Percent of potential GDP)
Government primary net lending/borrowing (Percent of GDP) Government net debt (Percent of GDP)
Government gross debt (Percent of GDP) Current account balance (U.S. dollars)
Current account balance (Percent of GDP)  

Economic Overview of Russia

Russia Map
Russia ended 2006 with its eighth straight year of growth, averaging 6.7% annually since the financial crisis of 1998. Although high oil prices and a relatively cheap ruble initially drove this growth, since 2003 consumer demand and, more recently, investment have played a significant role. Over the last five years, fixed capital investments have averaged real gains greater than 10% per year and personal incomes have achieved real gains more than 12% per year. During this time, poverty has declined steadily and the middle class has continued to expand. Russia has also improved its international financial position since the 1998 financial crisis. The federal budget has run surpluses since 2001 and ended 2006 with a surplus of 9% of GDP. Over the past several years, Russia has used its stabilization fund based on oil taxes to prepay all Soviet-era sovereign debt to Paris Club creditors and the IMF. Foreign debt has decreased to 39% of GDP, mainly due to decreasing state debt, although commercial debt to foreigners has risen strongly. Oil export earnings have allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12000000000 in 1999 to some $12000000000 at yearend 2006, the third largest reserves in the world. During PUTINs first administration, a number of important reforms were implemented in the areas of tax, banking, labor, and land codes. These achievements have raised business and investor confidence in Russias economic prospects, with foreign direct investment rising from $12000000000 in 2005 to an estimated $12000000000 in 2006. In 2006, Russias GDP grew 6.6%, while inflation was below 10% for the first time in the past 10 years. Growth was driven by non-tradable services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral extraction and exports. Russia has signed a bilateral market access agreement with the US as a prelude to possible WTO entry, and its companies are involved in global merger and acquisition activity in the oil and gas, metals, and telecom sectors. Despite Russias recent success, serious problems persist. Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of exports and 32% of government revenues, leaving the country vulnerable to swings in world commodity prices. Russias manufacturing base is dilapidated and must be replaced or modernized if the country is to achieve broad-based economic growth. A 20% appreciation of the ruble over 2005-06 has made attracting additional investment more difficult. The banking system, while increasing consumer lending and growing at a high rate, is still small relative to the banking sectors of Russias emerging market peers. Political uncertainties ahead of the elections, corruption, and widespread lack of trust in institutions continue to dampen domestic and foreign investor sentiment. From 2002 to 2005, the government bureaucracy increased by 17% - 10.9% in 2005 alone. President PUTIN has granted more influence to forces within his government that desire to reassert state control over the economy. Russia has made little progress in building the rule of law, the bedrock of a modern market economy. The government has promised additional legislation to make its intellectual property protection WTO-consistent, but enforcement remains problematic.

Nation History

Russia Map
Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the social, political, and economic controls of the Communist period. While some progress has been made on the economic front, and Russias management of its windfall oil wealth has improved its financial standing, recent years have seen a recentralization of power under Vladimir PUTIN and democratic institutions remain weak. Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although sporadic violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

Source(s): CIA World Factbook