OECD Economic Surveys: Russian Federation

1999-0669 (online)
1995-3607 (print)
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Russian economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by Russia, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

Also available in French, Russian
OECD Economic Surveys: Russian Federation 2002

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12 Feb 2002
9789264194007 (PDF) ;9789264191471(print)

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This 2002 edition of OECD's periodic reviews of Russia's economy examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects and  includes special features on small business and entrepreneurship, gas and electricity regulation and reform, and fiscal federalist relations.

Also available in French
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  • Assessment and Recommendations

    Since the previous OECD Economic Survey of 1999-2000, the Russian economy has experienced a number of favourable trends and developments. Output, employment, consumption, and investment have grown significantly. In the two-year period of 2000-01, Russian GDP and fixed capital investment grew by close to 15 and 25 per cent, respectively. Unemployment fell from 13 per cent at the end of 1999 to an estimated 8 per cent in mid-2001. Real incomes have recovered more slowly from the 1998 crisis than output and employment, but began to increase significantly in 2000 and 2001. The recent growth has reversed years of economic decline, bringing GDP in 2001 almost back to the recorded level of 1993.

  • Economic Overview

    Following a difficult decade of economic decline, instability, and social hardship, the Russian economy has shown a remarkable resilience in recent years, surpassing even the most optimistic expectations in 1998-99. Significant economic growth during 1999-2001 has reversed years of decline, bringing Russian GDP in 2001 almost to the level officially recorded in 1993. In addition, the Russian government succeeded in eliminating the chronic budget deficits of the past, and the Central Bank has achieved an important degree of macroeconomic stability and credibility in monetary policy. While household incomes and living standards have lagged behind these developments, they have shown recent signs of growth. The banking sector has also been recovering from the 1998 crisis.

  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    In virtually all of the relatively successful transition economies, new small private businesses have served as a primary engine of growth, absorbing resources from the state and former state sectors and exhibiting notable dynamism in the context of fierce competition and hard budget constraints.54 Some studies suggest that the creation of dynamic new and usually small firms out of the "ruins" of old enterprises has been the most vital part of the overall restructuring process and productivity growth.55 A thriving small business sector also reduces the social costs of transition by absorbing released workers from downsizing in large restructuring firms.

  • Gas and Electricity

    Natural gas and electrical power occupy a central place in the Russian economy. First, these industries are striking in their sheer size and scope. Russia possesses roughly one third of the world’s natural gas reserves, mostly concentrated in 20 large fields, and currently supplies one fourth of all gas on the world market. Russia’s electrical power infrastructure, consisting of 214.3 million kilowatts of generating power, 43.4 thousand kilometres of high voltage grid, and 2 627 thousand kilometres of low voltage grid, represents the largest such structure in the world. The volume of Russian electricity production is second only to that of the United States. Roughly, 30 per cent of all federal budgetary revenues came from the taxation of gas and electricity in 2000, while natural gas also accounted for 20 per cent of all Russian export revenues. While most industrial branches of the Russian economy experienced sharp decline for most of the 1990s, gas production remained relatively stable and the electricity sector maintained more than enough capacity to service demand (Figure 21). Gas and electricity are also very closely linked in Russia, not only as potential substitute energy sources, but because almost 40 per cent of natural gas supplied domestically goes toward the generation of electricity.

  • Fiscal Federalist Relations

    In a country as large and diverse as the Russian Federation, the economic environment will always depend fundamentally on the policies and activities of regional and local state bodies and officials. Consequently, distortions in the incentives of subnational officials can have an adverse effect on almost every area of economic and institutional development. Chapters II and III of this survey highlighted two such areas: the energy sector and the development of small business and entrepreneurship. Incentives in Russian regional and local state organs have suffered from problems in fiscal federalist relations. Consequently, the previous OECD Economic Survey of the Russian Federation (OECD, 2000) placed special emphasis on fiscal federalism, stressing these issues as central to any successful structural reform strategy.185 A subsequent OECD paper examined some later changes and policies in Russian interbudgetary relations, and outlined more specific possible directions for reform.186 The past few years have been very eventful for fiscal federalism in Russia, although some of the changes and proposed reforms remain problematic and highly controversial.

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