Staunton, June 2 – Russian economic figures are usually given and discussed for the country as a whole; but for a country as large and diverse as the Russian Federation, that is a mistake because its regions vary widely, with some growing or declining more than others and with some growing while others are declining.
This pattern is highlighted in the latest quarterly report on the Russian economy that has been prepared and issued by the Russian Central Bank (ng.ru/economics/2023-06-01/1_8739_economics.html). The bank’s experts say the pattern reflects not only the underlying conditions of the Russian economy but also the differential impact of sanctions.
According to the bank, for the first quarter of 2023, industrial production fell by 0.9 percent for Russia as a whole, but the regions varied widely on that. The Central Federal District experienced 4.7 percent growth, but the Northwestern FD saw a decline of 0.9 percent, the Siberian FD of 1.4 percent, the Urals FD of 1.6 percent, and the Far Eastern FD of 3.7 percent.
In general, the bank reports that with regard to industrial production, things are better in the West than in the East; but as far as housing construction, retail trade, pay and incomes, the situation in the eastern part of the country is better than in the center and in its western federal districts.
New housing fell almost 12 percent in the Russian Federation as a whole, while it grew in Siberia and the Far East; and real incomes fell at the center by two percent while they grew almost six percent in the Urals FD. As a result, the number of regions with governments in deficit rose to 50, more than half of all federal subjects.
In summing up these figures, Nezavisimaya gazeta concluded that “those regions which have seen a stopping of the activities of foreign firms after the intensification of sanctions have suffered the most,” while those without such firms in the past have suffered far less and are even doing relatively well.