Staunton, October 23 – Vladimir Putin’s Russia has now passed another milestone, albeit not one the Kremlin and the Russian people are unlikely to celebrate: According to official statistics issued by Rosstat and the calculations of experts at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, Putin’s stagnation rhas now lasted longer and is deeper than Leonid Brezhnev’s did.
Over the last 11 years, Russia has suffered two devaluations of the ruble and the most prolonged decline in the standard of living in this century, with the economy at the start of this year only 8.8 percent larger than that in 2008 (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/zastoy-rossiyskoy-ekonomiki-pobil-rekord-sssr-1028620532).
That means that the Russian economy has grown on average 0.88 percent a year, just over a third of the world economy’s growth rate, roughly have of the growth of the American GDP and nine percent of the growth of the Chinese economy over this period, official statistics show.
Not only is this period of stagnation now longer than was Brezhnev’s but it is deeper as well: in the 1970s, the Soviet economy grew approximately 1.5 percent a year, nearly twice what it has managed under Putin since 2008. And if the IMF projections are to be believed, there is no end in sight.
But perhaps the most damning aspect of the numbers about the Russian economy is this: economic growth in Russia today is less than a third of the three percent achieved in the last year of Boris Yeltsin’s reign, and Russia’s share of world GDO has fallen from 3.1 percent to 2.8 percent since Putin succeeded him.
Moscow consultant Andrey Movchan says the explanation is simple: The security people in power in Russia now understand only how to give orders and receive reports; they do not understand how an economy works or how to open the way to development. Until that changes, the economy – and that means the Russian people – aren’t going to escape from stagnation.