It’s Official: Russia’s Recession Is Over (Thanks to Some Creative Statistics)

It’s official: Russia’s economic recession is over. But instead
of congratulating the Kremlin or praising Russian businesses, concerned
citizens might want to thank Russia’s state statistics agency, Rosstat.

According to the Rosstat’s latest calculations, Russia’s Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) increased in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The good news ends there. The reversal of Russia’s negative
growth trend is only reflected in quarterly breakdowns. On the whole, the Russian
economy contracted by 0.2 percent in 2016. Positive growth was only registered in
the fourth quarter, where GDP grew by 0.3 percent compared over the same period
in 2015.

This is because the upturn doesn’t mark a shift in the Russian
economy, but a change in how Rosstat calculates GDP. The agency now gives industries
such as mining greater weight in its calculations, Rosstat chief Alexander
Surinov told the Vedomosti newspaper.
These new calculations will also see small
businesses contributing more to GDP, with their weighting boosted from by 0.5
percent to 19.9 percent.