Staunton, May 14 – After Putin began his “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, The Bell portal says, Russian officials in an unprecedentedly broad move stopped publishing key economic data (thebell.io/kak-vlasti-zakryvayut-rossijskuyu-ekonomiku-panika-na-kriptorynke-i-velichajshij-puzyr-v-istorii).
The Kremlin obviously took this step to hide from the Russian people just how dire the economic situation in Russia now is, but its actions have had the effect of making that situation even worse because businesses can’t plan without such data and so shortages and related problems are now far worse as a result.
When officials stopped publishing routine import and export figures, for example, they said they were trying to prevent “incorrect” speculation (tass.ru/ekonomika/14442469), but of course in the absence of data, Russian have speculated all the more, certain that the situation must be truly awful if their rulers are taking such steps to hide it from them.
Among the other regular statistical reports that are no longer being issued are the monthly Central Bank accounts on the size of foreign trade flows and regular reports by Russian Aviation about how many air passengers Russian firms are carrying and to which destinations.
But perhaps the most significant cutback in the publishing of economic data is taking place at the level of individual firms. With the permission of the government, they don’t have to report many kinds of data that they regularly had issued. The reason is that Moscow doesn’t want the West to have information on firms which it could use to impose more sanctions.