Russia: Key developments

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
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Politics, Summary, Outlook, Highlights
Political Geography

Outlook for 2018-22

  • The government has shown itself to be ideologically adaptable and effective at co-opting potential opposition. The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect weak economic performance to lead to political change in 2018-22.
  • We do not expect meaningful economic or political reforms prior to the 2018 presidential election, which we think the incumbent, Vladimir Putin, will win.
  • It is highly unlikely that the conflict in eastern Ukraine will be resolved during the forecast period (2018-22). We expect Western sanctions, as well as Russian counter-sanctions, to remain in place in the medium term.
  • Radical economic or political reform is unlikely, but there will be incremental efforts to try to improve the efficiency of the system. Economic policy will remain statist and protectionist while broadly observing market principles.
  • We estimate real GDP growth of 1.9% in 2017 owing to a pick-up in private consumption and investment. In the medium term, growth is forecast to average less than 2% per year, assuming oil prices of about US$51-58/barrel.
  • We estimate a budget deficit equal to 2.1% of GDP in 2017-a contraction from 3.4% of GDP in 2016. In 2018-22 spending will decline in real terms, leading to smaller average annual deficits of about 0.9%.
  • Inflation has decreased to an estimated 3.8% in 2017 owing to a strengthening of the rouble. In 2018-22 we forecast average annual inflation of 4.4%.


  • On October 7th protests were held in cities across Russia in support of Aleksei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger and nationalist opposition politician,
  • On September 20th the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) announced that it was taking a majority equity stake in B&N Bank, a major private lender, after having provided the bank with emergency liquidity.
  • In September CEFC, a private Chinese energy firm, purchased a 14.2% stake in Rosneft, Russia's state-owned oil giant, from Qatar Investment Authority (Qatar's sovereign wealth fund) and Glencore, a Swiss commodities firm.
  • On October 5th Mr Putin hosted the Saudi king, Salman bin Abdel-Aziz al-Saud, in Moscow, the capital. The unprecedented visit resulted in the signature of several investment deals, in energy, defence and high-tech.
  • According to a revised estimate by the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), real GDP grew by 2.5% year on year in the second quarter, driven by private consumption and investment.
  • Inflation slowed to 3% year on year in September, from 3.3% in August, as growth in food prices decelerated.

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