There would not currently be any economic growth in Russia without investment generated by preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said preparations for the World Cup — set to run from June 14 to July 15 — had contributed 867 billion rubles ($14 billion), or around 1 percent, to Russian gross domestic product (GDP) in the last five years.
“One percent is definitely very serious, a critically important contribution to our development for the country. I can say that without the World Cup, there would be no economic growth at the moment,” he told reporters.
Russia’s economy returned to growth of 1.5 percent last year after a two-year downturn brought on by Western sanctions and a collapse in global oil prices.
But GDP growth still missed a government target of 2 percent and President Vladimir Putin is under increasing pressure to reinvigorate his country’s stagnant economy and assuage voter concerns about falling living standards.