Russian Economy Shrinkage Smaller Than Expected

Thomas Seattle
Thomas Seattle Economy
4 Min Read

Figures produced by Russia’s statistics agency show that the country’s economy surprisingly contracted only 2.1% last year, despite its invasion of Ukraine, which had been anticipated to bring about a recession up to 12%. Despite questions surrounding the accuracy of these results, many have expressed shock at how durable and tough the Russian economy has become in light of their military activity.

Sanctions on Russia Not As Effective as Expected

The Russian economy was able to ride the wave of high oil prices and military spending, allowing it to remain afloat despite hundreds of Western firms withdrawing after the invasion. The initial shock sent ripples through their stock market, resulting in a temporary closure as people rushed cash machines for roubles. Despite institutes predicting a 15% economic decline by 2022 and President Biden’s statement that Russia was “on track” for a 50% reduction last March due to their sanctions, Russia maintained its energy exports throughout most of 2022 due to these favorable conditions.

Throughout the year, Europe gradually imposed restrictions on its energy exports, leading to a sudden drop in imports. Fortunately, China, India, and other countries took advantage of this opportunity by purchasing oil that Europeans would not buy. This turn of events ultimately increased global prices for commodities such as oil and gas, consequently raising Russia’s export revenues.

russian economy shrinkage smaller than expected

The Arms Industry Contributes A Lot To The Russian Economy

Local business owners stepped in to fill the void as numerous Western businesses pulled out of Russia. For instance, when McDonald’s sold its restaurants there recently, a new owner reopened them under the name “Vkusno i Tochka,” which means “Tasty and That’s It.” This demonstrates that even though international companies may leave an area temporarily, there are always opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs to pick up where they left off.

The Federal Statistics Service of Russia reported that agriculture, construction, and hospitality all flourished, notwithstanding the decrease in manufacturing and retail trade for 2022. Additionally, production equipment necessary to fill orders from the Russian military has kept factories humming along, thus boosting the Russian economy at large – creating weapons instead of cars – with a 4.1% expansion in security forces and public administration last year!

Sanctions Aren’t Perfect, But They Still Affect Russia

Despite attempts to disconnect Russia from the global economy, traders have found ways around sanctions via bartering or routing financial transactions through countries not participating in the embargos. This doesn’t mean that sanctions haven’t left a deep impact – many of which will be long-term!

High-tech imports, including microchips, are essential for manufacturing yet hard to come by. Without investment, technology, and equipment from the West, oil, and gas production is expected to decline over time. Despite this concerning outlook, however, Russia’s government anticipates the Russian economy will contract by 0.8%. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund believes it could grow up to 0.3% due to its exports being particularly robust!


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I graduated from Lancaster University and currently working in the financial services industry. I’m a goal-driven journalist who tracks down personal and corporate finance stories and delivers on deadline and a reporter/editor with extensive experience in newspapers, magazines and the internet in public and private markets, equity and debt, M&A, banking, fintech areas.
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