Thursday, August 27, 2020

Moscow has Failed to Adjust Inflation Metrics Despite Pandemic-Induced Changes in Their Basis

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 23 – The Russian government has failed to change the mix of the market basket, the prices of whose components it uses to measure inflation, despite the fact that the pandemic has led to a fundamental shift in the share of those components. Yevgeny Kogan says. As a result, its official inflation figures are increasingly at odds with reality.

            The banker and Higher School of Economics scholar says that inflation is being misstated because the components of the market basket showing the greatest price increases have changed in size relative to those with lower price increases (

            Another example where the choice of metric or failure to change it in response to circumstances may affect overall assessments concerns the Kremlin’s proclivity to use reported deaths from the coronavirus as the single most important measure of how successful countries have been in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

            Sergey Kiriyenko, deputy head of the Presidential Administration, for example, says that Russian doctors have coped better with the pandemic than their counterparts in any other country because they have kept the number of deaths low (

            That is a problematic claim not only because of massive evidence that doctors and their superiors have understated deaths from the pandemic by assigning mortality to other causes but also because of the fact that lethal outcomes are far from the only way that the impact of a pandemic should be measured.

            Today, Moscow officials registered 4852 new cases of infection, bringing the overall total for the entire pandemic to 956,749 and 73 new deaths, bringing that toll to 16,383 ( The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country with re-openings and re-closings tracking that (

            The Chumakov Scientific Center has filed a request with the health ministry to begin clinical trials on yet another Russian vaccine. It seeks authorization to test several thousand Russians with its medication (

            In economic news, Brand Finance says that the value of the most recognized Russian brands has fallen 16  percent since the pandemic began (; and figures show that agricultural exports, mostly to China, have soared even as export earnings from raw materials have fallen significantly (

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related news from Russia today,

·         The Vakhtangov Theater has become the latest artistic troupe to come down with coronavirus infections. Two of its actors are tested positive (

·         The requirement to wash hands as a way of containing the virus has sparked an upsurge in mysophobia among Russians, adding to the workload of Russian psychiatrists (

·         Given the attention the medical profession has received during the pandemic, ever more young Russians are applying to study to become doctors, new figures show (

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