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01/30/07 Poverty and Average Income in Russia (RosBusinessConsulting)

In 2000 more than 30 percent of Russians lived below the poverty line, which means that their incomes were below the subsistence minimum. In 2006, their number dropped to below 15 percent. According to the Economy Ministry’s estimates, it will stand at 14.5 percent in 2007, falling to 12.6 percent in 2007 and 11.3 percent in 2009. Real disposable incomes increased by 10 percent in 2006 compared with 2005. The average monthly wage climbed 24.5 percent to RUR 10,736 (approx. $404), up 13.5 percent in real terms. In November, the highest average wage of RUR 26,000 (approx. $978.5) or 2.3 times more than the country’s average, was reported in the finance sector. In the raw materials sector, the average wage was RUR 23,000 (approx. $865.6). In the manufacturing sector wages were 4 percent lower, in education - 30 percent lower, in healthcare and social services sector – 22 percent lower.

01/17/07 Confidence/Use of Banks amoung Russians (RosBusinessConsulting)

Eighty-one percent [of Russians] said their average monthly income did not exceed RUR 5,000 (approx. $188) per family member, and fifty-one percent said their earnings were up to RUR 3,000 (approx. $113). Thirty-three percent said they were bank account holders (had a current or savings account), almost unchanged from 32 percent in 2005. The average bank account holder has an income of over RUR 3,000 (approx. $113) per family member and lives in a large city (with a population of over 500,000 people). Most of them are people with higher education, qualified workers or pensioners, and are aged over 45. A third of respondents said they kept their money in a bank, while fifty percent still keep their savings in rubles at home. Nineteen percent think they should have savings of at least RUR 100,000 (approx. $3,766), up from nine percent in 2005. This is a sign that personal incomes are rising in Russia, the report says.

01/16/07 Confidence in Dollar amoung Russians (Public Opinion Foundation)

In 2002, a poll showed that 35 percent of Russians trusted the dollar more than the ruble and the euro while 37 percent said they preferred the ruble. About 11 percent of respondents preferred euros... Since then the situation has changed dramatically. Today almost two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) say they trust the ruble most of all, while only 5 percent trust the dollar and 15 percent the euro...

01/07/07 Growth of Russian Retail (Irish Times, "Carrefour or Perekrestok")

In the past few years, retail trade has been growing rapidly in Russia. Starting in the year 2000, the growth of hypermarkets and supermarkets alone has averaged no less than 40% a year. Trade will continue developing in Russia at a similar pace next year. Lev Khasis, X5 Retail Group CEO, estimates that in the next five years all sectors of retail trade will go up at the rate of no less than 14%, while supermarkets and hypermarkets will make an even faster progress - from 16% to 32% a year. Khasis runs Russia's biggest retail chain that includes Perekrestok and Pyatyorochka supermarkets. Paradoxically, being the leading retailer, his company controls only a little more than 2% of the market, and three of its closest rivals put together account for another 6%. This means that the majority of other retailers have not yet adopted modern methods of trade.

01/04/07 - Russia Then and Now

Life expectancy at birth
1992 -- Males: 61.9; Females: 73.7
2004 -- Males: 58.9; Females: 72.3

Births per 1,000 people
1992 -- 10.7
2005 -- 10.2

Deaths per 1,000 people
1992 -- 12.2
2005 -- 16.1

Causes of death per 100,000 people

Accidents, poisonings and injuries
1992 -- 173|
2005 -- 221

Alcohol poisoning
1992 -- 18
2005 -- 29

1992 -- 23
2005 -- 25

Per capita gross domestic product (U.S. dollars)
1993 -- 1,238.72
2005 -- 5,348.90

Average square meters of living space per inhabitant
1992 -- 16.8
2005 -- 20.8

From a survey of annual household budgets, percentage of income spent on:

TVs and radio sets, recreational items
1995 -- 3.9
2005 -- 5.2

Alcoholic beverages
1995 -- 2.5
2005 -- 1.9

Personal computers per 100 households
1995 -- N/A
2004 -- 20

Passenger cars per 100 households
1995 -- 18
2004 -- 33

Videotape recorders and video cameras per 100 households
1995 -- 15
2004 -- 62

SOURCES: "Russia in Figures 2006," Russia's Federal State Statistics Service; International Monetary Fund

12/07/06 - Voter Dissatisfaction - St. Petersburg Times

If the next State Duma elections were held this month, 20 percent of St. Petersburg residents would vote against all parties, according to new research presented by the Agency for Social Information at the Rosbalt agency on Thursday. Fifteen percent of respondents said they would ignore the elections and not go to polling stations at all.

12/06/06 - Real Income and Investment - Business Week Russia

Real available popular incomes are growing at twice the speed of nationwide labor productivity. What is even more alarming, labor productivity growth has actually been falling: from a 7% increase in 2003 to only 5.5% last year. At the same time, popular incomes grew by 9.5% in 2005, and are expected to soar by 12.7% this year. Consumer demand escalates by an average of 10-11%. Russia has posted 7% GDP average annual growth in the last three years, with industrial output growing by 6%.

Despite high investment volumes (a 10-11% increase each year), and a 40% surge in foreign investment in 2005, the economy has not yet overcome the imbalances it has inherited from the socialist era, and sorely needs additional capital investment. Investment makes up for 17% of the Russian GDP, whereas in the other three countries in the BRIC group [Brazil, India, and China] the share is 30%. Experts say investment must reach 25% of the Russian GDP in order to expedite economic restructuring and to reduce dependence on raw materials exports.

11/21/06 - Population, Wages, Unemployment

Russia's population declined in January-September 2006 by 438,900 people - down to 142.3m people, Russian ITAR-TASS news agency said, quoting a report issued by the Rosstat Federal Statistics Service. A total of 1,105,500 were born during this period and 1,639,500 people died, the report says. The number of unemployed increased in October by 0.8 per cent as compared with September to reach a total of 4,950,000 people or 6.6 per cent of the total number of economically active people in the country, the Rosstat report says. At the same time, the number of registered unemployed decreased in October 2006 by 1.3 per cent as compared with September and now totals 1,634,000 people. The number of economically active people at the end of October was 74.6m people or about 52 per cent of the country's total population. Real incomes of the population in October 2006 increased by 10.1 per cent as compared with October 2005 and by 0.1 per cent as compared with September 2006, the report says. Per capita income in October 2006 was R10,102 (just under 380 dollars at the current rate of exchange), which is 22.8 per cent more than in October 2005 and 1 per cent more than in September 2006.

11/21/06 - Foreign Investment (Itar Tass)

Foreign investments in Russia grew 31.7 percent in January-September as compared with the same period last year and amounted to 35.323 billion dollars, the Federal State Statistics Service reported on Monday. The total amount of accumulated investments in the Russian economy equalled 129.998 billion dollars as of the end of September 2006, which is 34.8 percent more as compared with the amount of investments accumulated by the end of September 2005, the Prime-Tass economic news agency reported. Cyprus, the Netherlands and Luxemburg are the biggest investors in Russia, accounting respectively for 21.6 percent, 17.3 percent and 15 percent of all investments in the country. Great Britain with its 8.8 percent of total investments in Russia, Germany (7.9 percent), the United States (5.9 percent), France and the Virgin Islands (2.5 percent of investments each), Switzerland and Japan (2 percent of investments each) are also on the list of ten major investors in the Russian economy.

11/16/06 - Smoking (Itar Tass)

Russians smoke 375 billion cigarettes annually, Nikolai Gerassimenko, a deputy chairman of public health committee in the lower house of Russian parliament said Thursday in the format of a roundtable conference timed for the World No Tobacco Day. "This very hazardous habit embraces 60% men and 15% women in this country," he said. He voiced particular alarm over the fact that almost 48% pregnant women have confessed regular smoking. He indicated that smoking annually causes the death of about five million people globally, and Russia accounts for one-tenth of these deaths. "Also, this country is the world's number two in terms of cardiovascular diseases, while 73% of all cases of deaths from them occurs among smokers," Gerassimenko said.

11/14/06 - Banking (Quote from statement by President Putin)

The network of bank institutions is still developed poorly in regions and in localities. In Russia, there are only 11 bank offices per 100,000 people on average. This is several times fewer than in the USA, France, Italy and many other countries. It takes people in non-industrial districts and distant places a long and hard time to get to a nearest bank office. In this respect, how many people do you think remain outside the scope of the banking system? Sixty million people.

11/14/06 - Human Development (Moscow Times, UN)

The United Nations Development Program's annual human development index ranks Russia 65th out of 177 countries, sandwiched between No. 64 Libya and No. 66 Macedonia. Last year, Russia was ranked 62nd. The figures do not necessarily suggest quality of life is worsening in Russia. As Kaarina Immonen, UNDP's representative in Russia, explained, the drop in the rankings has more to do with improvements in other countries. Per capita income in Russia now stands at $9,902, up from $9,500 last year. But life expectancy dipped incrementally: Last year, Russians could expect to die, on average, at 65.3 years of age. This year, with an average life expectancy of 65.2 years, they have one-tenth of a year, or 36.5 days, less time on the planet, well behind Macedonia, at 73.9 years, and Libya, with 73.8 years. Russia was just two places shy of being categorized a "high human development" country, remaining in the index's middle tier of "medium human development." Greatly boosting Russia's ranking was its nearly 100 percent literacy ranking among adults.

10/31/06 - Net Capital Inflow (RIA Novosti)

Russia's Central Bank said Tuesday that net capital inflow into Russia in the first three quarters of 2006 was $27 billion.

The figure is composed of a $4 billion net outflow in the first quarter, and $16 billion and $15 billion net inflows in the second and third quarters, espectively, the first deputy bank chairman said at an investment forum. Alexei Ulyukayev also said the bank forecasts net capital inflow in 2007 at $15 billion. "We revised [the forecast for] the net capital inflow for next year. According to the conservative scenario, it will total $15 billion," he said. Ulyukayev also said direct investment grew 40-50%, along with portfolio investment. Ulyukayev earlier said that in 2005, capital inflow had exceeded capital outflow for the first time since the 1990s - an era of massive capital flight - because of a healtheir investment climate. The Central Bank said in January that net inflows of private sector capital into Russia in 2005 totaled $300 million, compared with a net outflow in 2004 of $8 billion.

10/28/06 - Minister's Pay Checks  (Interfax)

Russian Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev had the highest income among Cabinet ministers in 2005, some 211,403,810 rubles.

Information concerning the income and property of Russian government ministers was published by the Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Friday. The publication was prepared based on data provided by the Cabinet members themselves. Transport Minister Igor Levitin ranks second, with 11,979,109 rubles. Minister of Information Technology and Communications Leonid Reyman is in third place with 11,021,760 rubles. Premier Mikhail Fradkov earned 1,842,783 rubles, the Russian government's First Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev earned 2,219,229 rubles, Deputy Chairman Alexander Zhukov earned 1,323,800 rubles, and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov earned 1,678,400 rubles. The Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref, who earned 1,185,700 rubles, completes the list. Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev holds the penultimate place, having earned 1,187, 030 rubles; and Health and Social Development Minister Mikhail Zurabov earned 1,190,870 rubles. Agriculture Minister Aleksei Gordeyev earned 1,613,989 rubles (including 193,235 in income earned from scientific activity), Minister of Finance Aleksei Kudrin earned 1,261,310 rubles, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earned 2,120,000 rubles in 2005. Culture Minister Alexander Sokolov earned 1,337,600 rubles; Minister of Education and Science Andrei Fursenko earned 1,867,744 rubles; Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko earned 1,405,580 rubles; Justice Minister Yuri Chayka (currently Prosecutor General) earned 1,367,745 rubles in 2005; and Minister of Civil Defense, Emergencies, and Natural Disasters Sergei Shoigu earned 1,265,760 rubles. Head of the Government Apparatus Sergei Naryshkin earned 1,386,561 rubles, and First Deputy Chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission Vladislav Putilin earned 1,248,600 rubles.

NOTE: Mr Putin's income was not included on the rich list, but he is known to draw an annual salary of about £520,000, 270 times the national average wage.

10/28/06 - HIV Infection Rate (Interfax)

A five-percent surge in people infected with HIV was registered in Russia for the period from January to September 2006, as compared with the same nine months of 2005, the Russian government said on Friday.

"In the first nine months of 2006, 24,390 new cases of HIV were registered," the Federal Supervisory Service for the Defense of Consumers' Rights and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) said in a release. Altogether, more than 353,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Russia since 1987. They include 988 children infected by their mothers. In addition, doctors are monitoring about 15,000 children who have HIV-positive mothers but have not received a diagnosis. "There have been 1,940 confirmed cases of AIDS, among them 212 among children. The number of people who were diagnosed with AIDS and have died is 1,379, including 140 children. The number of HIV-infected people who have died of various causes is 10,760," the release said. There are 30,000 registered HIV-infected people in St. Petersburg, 10,000 in Leningrad region, 28,500 in Sverdlovsk region, a total of 54,000 in the city and region of Moscow, 24,000 in Samara region, 20,000 in Irkutsk region, 16,000 in Chelyabinsk region, 14,700 in Orenburg region, and 10,000 in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous district, Rospotrebnadzor says.

10/27/06 - Infant Mortality (RIA Novosti)

Infant mortality in Russia has dropped 31% in the first 10 months of 2006 against the same period last year, the Health and Social Development Ministry said Monday. "In [the first] 10 months of this year, 11,120 infants died in Russia's maternity hospitals, compared with 16,125 infants in [the first] 10 months of 2005," a ministry official said. "Early neonatal mortality has been reduced by that number." Olga Sharapova said this testifies to the improved quality of obstetrics in Russia, because, she said, the infant mortality rate is the main indicator of the situation in the maternity care system. She said the ministry is trying to prevent a reduction of funds to finance obstetric care in Russian regions. Russia's population has been in steady decline since the market reforms and economic hardships of the 1990s, leading many experts to worry about a demographic crisis in the near future. In his annual address to the nation in May, President Vladimir Putin said the country's population was falling by about 700,000 each year, and pledged financial incentives for women with larger families.

10/12/06 - Media Usage (VTsIOM)

The overwhelming majority of Russian citizens -- 85% -- prefer to receive information from central television broadcasts. Among frequently used sources of information 40% of those surveyed mention oblast television, 32% regional television, and 31% central newspapers. Regional and oblast newspapers are indicated by 27% and 23% of those surveyed, respectively. Only 13% of Russia's citizens use the Internet, which is comparable to the figures for the popularity of oblast and regional radio (13% and 10%). The largest proportions of people who use the Internet frequently as a source of information live in Moscow and St. Petersburg -- 26%. In large and medium-sized cities the figure drops to 16%-18%, and in small cities and towns to 7%-10%.

In the last year television has increased its audience: the proportion of Russia's citizens who use central television to receive information rose from 76% to 85%, oblast television went from 32% to 40%, and regional went from 28% to 32%. But the proportion for the Internet did not rise much: from 10% to 13%. Nonetheless, almost one quarter of Russia's citizens use the Internet today. Of them 5% use the resources of the Worldwide Web daily, another 8% do so a few times a week, 6% a few times a month, and 4% occasionally.

People with completed and incomplete higher education turn to Internet resources more often than others. The opposite situation has taken shape among respondents with less than secondary education: only 4% of the representatives of this group go on the Internet even a few times a week, whereas 92% of them said that they never use the resources of the Worldwide Web at all.A majority of the Internet users -- 77% -- need it to solve problems related to work or school, while 44% of those surveyed go on the Internet to read the news and use electronic mail. One out of five turns to the Internet to socialize, watch movies, and listen to music. Eleven percent of Russian Internet users play on the Worldwide Web.

The most active "Internetchik's" are well-off Russian citizens (with per capita income of more than R5,000 a month). They use electronic mail and news sites more often than others do, and also socialize and look for friends through the Internet. People of modest means use the Internet for downloading music and movies more often than others.

Considering the Internet as one of the channels for getting information, 44% of Russian citizens agree with the point of view that this is primarily a powerful resource for getting prompt and reliable information. At the same time, 27% of those surveyed take a more guarded attitude toward it, noting the actual absence of controls in the space of the Worldwide Web.

Overall, Russian citizens have a positive assessment of the Internet's role in organizing social interaction: 43% think that people come closer to each other using it. Twenty-eight percent disagree with this. More than half of Russia's population (54%) recognize that the Internet has a large influence on many spheres of life. The opposing point of view is held by 19%: they see the Worldwide Computer Web as nothing but a toy and a fashionable diversion.

Russian citizens overall have a tolerant attitude toward "Internetchik's" or active Internet users. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed do not see substantial differences between this group and other people. Twenty-two percent, by contrast, note that excessive infatuation with the Internet is tangibly reflected in a person, making him unlike ordinary people.

10/12/06 - "Life is Difficult, but Bearable" (Interfax)

The results of a September poll of over 2,000 adults received by Interfax on Tuesday from the Yury Levada center indicate that 76% of Russians agree that "life is difficult but bearable" and that "things are not that bad." However, 19% say they can no longer tolerate their "miserable state." The Levada center says that the number of those satisfied has grown seven percentage points in two years and the number of those disappointed has fallen by five points. As for family living standards 56% say they are average and 9% good or very good and 33% bad compared to 36% two years ago. Asked about their state of mind 55% called it normal and 8% excellent. Meanwhile 34% said they felt tension and fear, however, this is seven points less than in September 2004. In two years the number of supporters of the continuation of market-oriented reforms has grown 6% to 40%. At the same time 20% suggest stopping them and 40% don't know which is better. The number of Russians regarding the economic situation in Russia as poor declined from 46% to 35%.

10/12/06 - Russians' Perception of Russian Problems (RIA Novosti)

A majority of respondents, 66%, in a survey conducted by VTsIOM have said alcoholism and drug abuse are the most serious problem facing Russia, the opinion research center reported Thursday. Inflation and terrorism were highlighted as Russia's second most serious problem by 56% and 44% of respondents, respectively. About one-third (36%) of respondents were concerned about the crime rate; 34% were worried by the quality and cost of housing and utility services; 33% by low pension rates; 31% by unemployment; and 29% by the acute demographic crisis. The influence exerted on political and economic developments in the country by well-connected businessmen known as oligarchs worries 22% of respondents, and 23% are concerned about low moral standards in modern Russian society.

The order of those problems changed when their impact on personal life was discussed, with inflation being in the lead, VTsIOM said. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they are worried by high inflation. About one-third of those surveyed said low pension pays are the most sensitive issue for them. Unemployment, poor quality and high tariffs of the housing and utilities sector concerned 31% of respondents. And 33% said drug and alcohol abuse worry them the most. Crime, healthcare, poor living standards were highlighted as the most serious problems by 25% to 27% of respondents. Only 22% of those surveyed said terrorism is a problem that affects them personally, compared to 44% who put it third among the gravest national threats.

The poll showed that the situation has worsened, rather than improved, virtually in all spheres of life in Russia in the last five years.

Sixty-two percent of respondents pointed to negative trends in efforts to curb inflation; 58% said measures to fight alcohol and drug abuse have become less effective, as have steps against crime, according to 55% of respondents. And 45% said measures to stem terrorism, corruption and extremism have also yielded fewer results over that period. From 51% to 53% of respondents noted declining standards in the housing and utilities sector, lower moral standards, and increasingly irresponsible attitudes to the environment. VTsIOM said nothing has improved or worsened in the sphere of democracy and human rights (44%); in energy supplies (37%); national security (36%); in the country in general ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections next year (35%) and since administrative reform was launched (34%). But international affairs were mentioned as a sphere that has demonstrated some progress in the past five years, with 44% of respondents saying Russia has improved its positions in the world in that period, 19% highlighting some negative changes in the sphere, and 32% saying they saw no change at all.

The poll was conducted October 7-8 and involved 1,592 people in 153 residential areas across Russia. The statistical error does not exceed 3.4%.

10/06/06 - Statistics on Suicide in Russia (RIA Novosti)

As many as 60,000 people commit suicide in Russia annually, a senior Russian psychiatrist said Wednesday. "There have been an average 60,000 suicides in Russia every year over the last 12 years, and all of them could have been stopped," Tatyana Dmitriyeva, director of the Serbsky Social and Forensic Psychiatry Research Center, told a news conference ahead of World Mental Health Day, October 10. She said that although about 20% of suicides are mentally ill, there are moments in human life when a person is prone to take the final step in a certain state of mind.Worldwide, Dmitriyeva said, Russia ranks second after Lithuania in the number of suicides. "The figure is 34.9 people per 100,000." She said people aged 45-55 and teenagers were the groups at greatest risk, and that the Koryak Autonomous Area in the Far East, the Komi Republic in northeastern European Russia and Udmurtia in the Volga region topped the list of suicide regions. She said suicide was rare in the Caucasus.

9/24/06 - Growth in Personal Wealth (Boston Consulting Group)

Buoyed by a flood of cash from oil and gas exports, the value of stock, bonds and other financial assets held by Russians will grow at 12 percent yearly through 2010. Personal financial wealth in India, meanwhile, will grow at 13 percent; in China, 11 percent; and in Brazil, 6 percent, according to the report, released Tuesday.

To be sure, Russia and the other so-called BRIC countries are still playing catch-up: In 2005, Russians boasted just $558 billion in financial assets, versus $31 trillion in the United States and $12 trillion in Japan. The report only measures investors’ financial assets and not cash tied up in a business or home.

9/22/06 - Classified Federal Spending (Vedomosti)

The Russian state will spend 666 billion rubles secretly in 2007. According to the IEPP, 9.5% of federal budget spending was classified in 2003. In the draft budget for 2007, it's 12.2%. In absolute figures, secret spending has tripled: from 225.34 billion rubles to 666.12 billion rubles. Secrecy is increasing for national defense spending (45.6% of items classified in 2007, compared to 36.2% in 2003), as well as for security and law enforcement (31.3% compared to 22.4%). There is even some secrecy in social spending categories: 4.7% of items classified in spending on housing and communal services, 2.5% in education spending, 0.25% in culture, cinema, and media, 3.3% in healthcare and sport, and 0.2% in inter-budget transfers.

9/21/06 - Russian Faith in Politics (Levad Center)

In a poll conducted this September, 77% of respondents support Putin's work as president and 22% disapproved of it.

Putin is the best Russian politician, according to 45% of respondents.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu is trusted by 19% of respondents, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky by 12%, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov by 10%, and First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev by 9%.

The list of the ten most popular Russian politicians in September also included Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov (8%), Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov (8%), Kemerovo region Governor Aman Tuleyev (6%), St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko (6%), and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov (5%).

Fifteen percent of the respondents said they do not trust any Russian politicians.

9/20/06 - Russian Voting Preferences (Levada Center)

Imagine that parliamentary elections will be held again this Sunday. Which of the following parties would you vote for?

Name of Party (Acronym)
June 2006
Aug 2006

United Russia (ER)

Communist Party (KPRF)

Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR)

Yabloko (Liberal)

For A Dignified Life

Russian Pensioners Party (RPP)

Union of Right Forces (SPS)

Agrarian Party of Russia (APR)

Motherland - National Patriotic Union (MDRT)

Source: Yury Levada Analytical Center
Methodology: Interviews to 1,600 Russian adults, conducted from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21, 2006.
No margin of error was provided.

9/11/06 - Ethnic Tolerance (Itar-Tass)

A poll has shown that 45 percent of the Russians advise teaching the culture of ethnic communication and tolerance at schools and through the mass media, solving social problems and tightening the control of migration flows. The All-Russia Centre of Public Opinion Research (VTSIOM) has conducted the poll on September 2-3 among 1,600 people in 153 residential areas of Russia's 46 regions. The margin of error was 3.4 percent. At the same time, 42 percent of the respondents had no prescriptions, and another 13 percent believe that there are no problems at all. More than half of those polled said that the situation in ethnic relations had not changed over the past year. Some 16 percent stated an improvement and 19 a deterioration of them. Residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg showed the most critical attitudes, with 25 percent considering the relations as worsened.

9/08/06 - Net Capital Inflow (RIA Novosti)

Net capital inflow into Russia by late 2006 will reach $15-$20 billion, a senior Central Bank official said Friday. Earlier reports said capital inflows in the first half of this year had exceeded $11 billion, which Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin welcomed as the highest indicator for the last 15 years.

 9/06/06 - Per Capita Spending (RIA Novosti)

Per-capita consumption in Russia has quadrupled in six years, to $3,000, an Ernst&Young partner said Wednesday. "From 1999 till 2005, per-capita consumption in Russia has grown fourfold, and is now at about $3,000," Dmitry Babiner said. He also said the Russian market has become more business-friendly, citing the alleviation of the tax burden, the abolition of foreign exchange restrictions, and the adoption of laws on concessions and special economic zones.

9/01/06 - Defence Spending (RIA Novosti)

Russia's defense bill will hit 300 billion rubles ($11.2 billion) in 2007 for Defense Ministry needs alone, the defense minister said Thursday. "Government spending on defense steadily grows year in and year out, on average by 20%, but 2007 will see a 29% rise, year-on-year, to 300 billion rubles, not to mention spending on the needs of the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service and other law enforcement agencies," Sergei Ivanov told a government defense commission.

8/23/06 - Oil Revenues (The Independent - UK)

According to Opec, Russia extracted 9.236 million barrels of oil a day in June, 46,000 more than Saudi Arabia. The statistics also showed that Russian production in the first half of this year increased to 235.8 million tons, a year-on-year improvement of 2.3 per cent.

With oil prices hovering above $70 a barrel for London Brent crude because of uncertainty over Iranian supply and BP's pipeline crisis in Alaska, Russia is enjoying an unprecedented bonanza.

But analysts say its oil industry is already working close to capacity and that it will be able to manage output increases of up to only 2 per cent a year between now and 2009.

Money from oil and gas accounts for 52.2 per cent of all revenues to the state treasury and more than 35 per cent of Russia's exports.

8/22/06 - Political Party Donations (Vedimosti)

There are 35 political parties in Russia, but almost half of them receive no funding from the state or never submit financial accounts to the authorities. Experts expect that most of these parties will cease to exist before the next election.

The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has released political parties' financial reports for the second quarter of 2006. As usual, the United Russia party reported the largest sum of donations - 220.5 million rubles. Other "millionaires" include Russian Patriots (53.6 million rubles), Motherland (45.4 million rubles), the Russian Party of Life (35.9 million rubles). The Russian Party of Life showed a major rise in donations since the first quarter of the year, when its sponsors raised only 2.8 million rubles. The Communist Party (CPRF) got less than in the first quarter - just over 1 million rubles now against 43.2 million rubles then. "All money went directly to the Central Committee of the CPRF in the 1st quarter of the year," CPRF Secretary Oleg Kulikov explained. "These days, however, we are making preparations for regional elections. Our regional branches are raising money and using it."

Twelve political parties received no donations at all. They include the Union of Right Forces, the Republican Party of Russia, and the Russian Environmentalist Party. Explanations differ. Union of Right Forces leader Nikita Belykh points out that the party received 12 million rubles from the federal budget in the first quarter of 2006 and that the party has enough for its needs. (The annual budget of the Union of Right Forces amounts to 10.9 million rubles). The Republican Party of Russia did not receive anything in the first quarter. Its functionaries do not know why and complain of problems with registration. According to Vladimir Lysenko, the Republican Party of Russia has taken the Federal Registration Service to court because the latter keeps closing regional branches of the party. Vladimir Polyakov of the Environmentalist Party doesn't believe that there is a connection between absence of funds and results of the examination by the Federal Registration Service, but refuses to elaborate. Four parties (including SLON and Constitutional Democrats) have failed to submit their financial reports. The Federal Registration Service says that they failed to meet the minimal party membership numbers requirements.

Yelena Dubrovnina from the CEC explains that lack of money may lead to scrutiny by the Federal Registration Service. This is indirect evidence of the inadequacy of the party in question. Yuri Korgunyuk from the InDem Foundation expects abolition of these political structures in the near future. Only some small political parties that support the Kremlin may be spared.
Translated by A. Ignatkin

8/20/06 - Oil Production (Interfax)

The pace of growth in oil production in 2009 will fall to 1.4%, according to a report on the main areas of budget and tax policy in 2007 prepared by the Russian Finance Ministry.

According to the document, oil production in 2006 will amount to 482 million tonnes (up 2.6% year-on-year). In 2007 growth in production will start to fall and production will only increase 2.1% to 492 million tonnes, in 2008 - 1.6% (500 million tonnes) and in 2009 - 1.4% to 507 million tonnes. According to Finance Ministry forecasts, oil exports in 2006 will amount to 255 million tonnes (up 1.2%), in 2007 - 264 million tonnes (3.5%), in 2008 - 270 million tonnes (2.3%) and in 2009 - 274 million tonnes (1.5%).

Federal budget revenue from the mineral extraction tax, according to Finance Ministry estimates, will gradually fall: in 2006 it will amount to 1.13 trillion rubles, in 2007 - 1.0377 trillion rubles, in 2008 - 906.4 billion rubles and in 2009 - 806.1 billion rubles. Budget calculations for 2007 have been made taking an expected drop in oil price from $65 per barrel this year to $61 per barrel next year, the report said.

8/20/06 - Tastes Like Chicken! (AFP)

Russia is one the the largest importers of US poultry, importing 742,390 tons of broiler chickens in 2005, a nine percent rise over 2004, business daily Kommersant said, citing the US Department of Agriculture.

8/17/06 - FDI (From RIA-Novosti)

Direct foreign investment in Russia's economy in January-June almost tripled year-on-year to hit $26 billion, a deputy economics minister said Tuesday.

"Direct foreign investment was about $26 billion in the first six months of 2006," Kirill Androsov said, adding that the figure was preliminary and could differ from assessment of the Central Bank and the State Statistics Service.

In January-June of 2005, direct foreign investment in the Russian economy stood at $9.3 billion, the Central Bank said.

8/8/06 - Health Care (From RIA-Novosti)

According to a poll conducted by the VTsIOM polling agency, 66 percent of Russians are unhappy with the medical care they receive.

The World Health Organization rates Russia 127th among 192 member nations based on the overall health of its population. The overall state of Russia’s public health system is ranked at 130th position in the world, and at 75th based on the amount the government spends on health care per person.

 8/8/06 - GDP and Industrial Output (From RIA-Novosti)

Russia's gross domestic product and industrial production grew significantly in the first half of this year, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Thursday.

The ministry said in a report that GDP had grown 6.5% in the reporting period and 6.9% in June.

GDP growth was 7.1% in the second quarter of 2006, against 5.5% in the first quarter.

Consumer prices increased 6.2% in January-June, while industrial production gained 4.4% during the period and 2.9% in June.

The industrial production index in the second quarter was 106%.

Fixed capital investment from all financing sources grew by an estimated 9.4% year-on-year in the first half of 2006 to 1,563 billion rubles (about $57.8 billion).

The ministry said inflation had been 9% in June

2006 on June 2005, reaching the upper limit of the target level for 2006 (8-9%). It added that a high budget surplus had ensured sterilization of the most of the monetary supply, but the budget surplus did not guarantee no inflation.

The ruble gained 9.8% against dollar in January-June 2006, but the appreciation slowed down, as it strengthened in June by 0.4%, down from 1.9% in May.

Russia's foreign trade surplus totaled an estimated $75.1 billion in January-June 2006 compared with $54.7 billion in the same period of 2005, representing a year-on-year increase of 37%.

Russia's trade in June 2006 totaled $39.3 billion, and $213.9 billion in January-June.

8/8/06 - Fitch Ratings

Russia climbed further up the investment grade ladder yesterday after Fitch Ratings awarded the oil-rich country's strong financial position with a credit rating upgrade from BBB to BBB+. (from Financial Times of the UK)

8/7/06 - Income and Wages

Russians' real disposable incomes up 11.1% on year in Jan-Jun

MOSCOW, July 21 (Prime-Tass) -- The real disposable incomes of Russian citizens rose 11.1% on the year in January-June, the Federal State Statistics Service said Friday.

Real disposable income excludes taxes and other mandatory payments and its performance is adjusted for inflation as measured by the consumer price index (CPI).

Russians’ average income per capita rose 25.6% on the year to 10,975 rubles in June, the service said.

Total wage arrears in Russia fell 5.5% in the month to 5.435 billion rubles as of July 1, the service said.

The labor force in Russia amounted to about 74.4 million people as of the end of June, or about 51% of the total population, the statistics office said.

The number of unemployed people in Russia amounted to 5.6 million people as of July 1, or 7.5% of the country’s labor force, as calculated under International Labor Organization (ILO) standards.

The statistics service also reported that Russia’s population fell 0.21% year-to-date to 142.4 million people as of June 1.

(26.9674 rubles - U.S. $1)

6/2/06 - Prices Paid for Natural Gas

Belarus -- $47
Ukraine -- $95
Lithuania -- $105
Armenia -- $110
Azerbaijan -- $110
Georgia -- $110
Moldova -- $110
Latvia -- $120
Estonia -- $120
Western Europe -- approximately $230
Source: Gazprom

6/1/06 - Russian's Opinions on Russia

34% - Russia "is moving in the right direction" (in February the figure was 40%)
47% - Russia "is moving along the wrong path" (in February -- 44%), 
19% - Had difficulty answering (in February -- 16%).

5% - completely satisfied with what is happening in the country, 
25% - satisfied for the most part, 
71% are not entirely satisfied or are not satisfied at all.

24% - satisfied with the leadership's economic course
71% - unsatisfied with the leadership's economic course 

13% - satisfied with the moral and ethical state of the country 
84% - unsatisfied with the moral and ethical state of the country

"Which of following policies are most important to your family?" (four to five answers allowed)
68% - development of domestic production 
40% - strengthening of the country's defense capability 
40% - protection of the domestic producer
38% - preservation of Russia's status as a "great power" 
27% - development and advancement of Russian goods on the world market
12% - development and strengthening of democracy and freedom of speech
12% - creation of an open, competitive economy
8%   - strengthening of the vertical structure of power
7%   - difficult to answer

"What will the future president of Russia who replaces Vladimir Putin in this post do?"
40% - "he will do the same thing as Putin has done"
22% - "he will devote more attention to the needs of ordinary people"
15% - "he will manage to restore Russia's status as a great world power"
12% - "he will eliminate degradations of Russians in their own country"
10% - "he will "tighten the screws" and establish strict order in the country"
9%   - "he will develop the initiative and responsibility of citizens"
5%   - "he will restore the democratic rights and freedoms lost recently"
5%   - "he will return the country to the path of socialism"
23% -  "I have difficulty answering" 

"What problems should the new president of Russia focus on?"
72% - ensuring economic growth and an upsurge in the country's economy
55% - imposing order in the country and strengthening the law
62% - restoring social justice and improving the lives of ordinary people
13% - strengthening democracy and protecting the individual's rights and freedoms
19% - strengthening Russia's position in the international arena
24% - strengthening the country's defense capability
31% - developing science, culture, and education
12% - smoothing out inter-ethnic conflicts and fighting ethnic intolerance
39% - fighting crime
6%   - ensuring the inviolability of private property and stimulating private enterprise
17% - promoting the spiritual revival of the motherland
16% - protecting the environment
1%   - difficult to answer

Source: Yuriy Levada Analytical Center

4/28/06 - Russian Gas Reliance

Percent of total national gas importation which comes from Gazprom

Finland 100
Poland 58
Czech Republic 74
Slovakia 97
Hungary 70
Romania 29
Bulgaria 99
Yugoslavia 74
Germany 33
Austria 66
Slovenia 61
Italy 26
Greece 76
Turkey 60
France 26
Netherlands 5
Source: Gazprom

Reform Needs - 4/27/06

The top five measures the government should take to improve the business environment:

Reduce corruption at all levels of government 88%
Reduce bureaucratic red tape and regulations 62%
Judicial/legal reforms 46%
Stronger corporate governance and transparency 43%
Consistent back tax policies 43%

A total of 101 investors and 51 non-investors responded to this question.
Source: PBN Company, FIAC

Average Income - 4/27/06

The World Bank defines as low the annual per capita earnings of $825-3,255, and high average incomes vary from $3,255 to $10,066. Others are high income countries.

Not a single former Soviet republic is a high income country. At the same time, Estonia ($7,080 per capita income), Latvia ($5,580), Lithuania (5,740), Armenia ($1,060), Azerbaijan ($940), Belarus ($2,140), Georgia ($1,060), Kazakhstan ($2,250) and Ukraine ($1,270) are ranking amongst high average income countries together with Russia.

Kyrgyzstan ($400), Moldova ($720), Tajikistan ($280) and Uzbekistan ($450) are low income countries. World Bank countries attributed Turkmenistan to the same group, although the report does not give income statistics from that country.

An average world per capita income made $6,329 in 2004, the report says.

Savings - 4/14/06

MOSCOW, April 14 (Itar-Tass)  The newspaper "Vedomosti" published on Friday the results of the March poll on the financial activity of the Russian population, held by the All-Russia Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (VCIOM). It showed that in spite of the fact that bank deposits now yield a maximum annual interest of 12 per cent, one fifth of the Russian population prefer to deposit their money in banks, sixteen per cent to hide it as before "beneath their mattresses" at home, and more than sixty per cent of the population have no savings at all.

Experts explain the VCIOM figures by the low incomes of the Russian population. According to the Russian Statistical Board (Rosstat), the average per capita income of the Russian population equalled in February, for instance, to only 8,092 roubles.


Russian officials are multiplying at a record-breaking rate. According to the Federal Service of State Statistics data, over the last year [2005] alone, the legion of bureaucrats grew by nearly 150,000, that is by over 10 per cent.

Almost 1.5m people work in the federal bodies of the executive branch of power. This means there is one official per 100 Russians. This is an absolute record for Russia.

The rate at which the Federal Service for Veterinary and Plant Control has been expanding is simply fantastic - the number of its employees increased by 17,000 per cent over the year, from 116 people to 20,000.
Source: Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 0745 gmt 12 Apr 06

Russia Internet Useage for 2005

Worldwide: 12.8%
USA: 68.1%
UK: 62.9%
EU: 49.8%
Russia: 16.5%
Ukraine: 11.4%
China: 8.5%
Uzbekistan: 3.3%
Source: World Internet Stats 2005

Russian-US Trade for 2005

MOSCOW, March 6 (Itar-Tass) -- The Russian-US trade in 2005 "has increased by 30 percent to reach about 20 billion dollars," spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Kamynin said on the eve of the first official visit to the United States of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. This figure made 14.8 billion dollars in 2004.

"The previous year became one of the most fruitful in economic relations. The definite positive result is the diversification of business exchanges and the inflow of US investments in the Russian economy," the diplomat emphasized.

"There are also real successes in the scientific and technical sphere. The agreement on scientific cooperation was extended for another decade," Kamynin pointed out. "The innovation council has been set up in June at the initiative of presidents Vladimir Putin and George Bush," the diplomat remarked. He called an important achievement "an agreement on the use of Russian spaceships to provide for the ISS operation."

Russian GDP

MOSCOW. March 24 (Interfax) - Russian GDP in dollar terms increased almost 300% from 1999 to 2005, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said at a ministry meeting on Friday.

He said that in 1999 GDP amounted to $196 billion, and in 2005 - $765.8 billion. "As a result, growth amounted to almost 300%," he said.

He said that in real terms GDP increased 50% in this period.

GDP, Industrial Output, Inflation

Source:  "Russian economy: forecasts for 2006" by Nina Kulikova. Published by RIA Novosti on March 27, 2006

According to the data of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in 1999-2005 Russia's GDP increased by nearly 57%, with average annual growth rates constituting 6.6%. The preliminary figure of Russia's GDP growth in 2005 cited by the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) was 6.4%.

Overall, Russia's industrial output increased by 4% in 2005. At the same time, industrial growth declined year-on-year, primarily because of a slowdown in the fuel and energy sector, mostly in oil and gas production. Agricultural output increased by 2% in the same period, mostly due to a rise in grain yield (83.9 million tonnes), the production of technical crops, and poultry farming.

Year-on-Year Growth of Russia's Key Economic and Social Indicators


Gross domestic product 106.4 107.2
Index of industrial production 104 108.3
Agricultural output 102 103.1
Communications services 115.7 129
Retail trade 112 112.5
Foreign trade, 132.6 132
exports 134.6 134.4
imports 128.9 127.5
Investment in fixed assets (estimate) 110.5 110.9
Source: Federal State Statistics Service

In 2005, the value of Russian exports exceeded $240 billion and that of imports $120 billion, registering a 35% and 29% increase respectively. Energy resources, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, fertilisers and timber continued to dominate Russian exports.

The investment climate in Russia is gradually improving, with more and more foreign companies emerging on the Russian market. According to the AT Kearney's data, Russia rose to the sixth place in the FDI Confidence Index 2005, after China, the United States, Britain, India and Poland (in March 2005, it was given eleventh place in the FDI Index).

According to the data of the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry, foreign investment into the Russian economy amounted to $26.8 billion in 2005. By late 2005, accumulated investment totalled $96 billion. The manufacturing industry received the largest portion of the investment funds (26.6%) and was followed by mineral extraction (21.5%). Foreign investment into wholesale and retail trade also registered an increase.

The Russian stock market was also growing in 2005: the RTS Index rose nearly twofold - from 614 to the new historical record of 1125 points. Russia's positions on the IPO global market are growing stronger. Initial public offerings of national companies' shares helped them attract about $6 billion last year alone (against $700 million in 2004). Quite a few companies intend to follow their example next year and among them are state-owned Rosneft and Vneshtorgbank.

The inflation problem was also in the focus of attention last year. Statistics service data show that inflation dropped from 11.7% in 2004 to 10.9% in 2005. However, the inflation target for 2005 (8.5%) was not met. Yevgeny Primakov, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explained the failure to tangibly reduce inflation in 2005 by corporate price formation at the level of natural, sectoral and local monopolies. The price rise will continue to outpace inflation growth if the state fails to take appropriate economic measures and create mechanisms capable of putting an end to monopoly price formation.

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