In the first part of June, some of the Macedonian language media reported that Russia returned on the list of the Top 10 economies for the first time after 2014. Rarely did the news reported on the portals specify their sources. However, after fact-checking the data, Truthmeter derived the conclusion that the Macedonian public – by taking over the news from the Serbian media – was informed about this novelty one month after the original publication of the announcement in RIA Novosti. In the period 10 – 12.06.2023, the Macedonian media – sometimes the same portals and some of them even three times – reported on news related to Russia coming back on the list of Top 10 biggest economies in the world.
On the basis of the results from last year, Russia is back on the Top 10 biggest economies in the world – which is happening for the first time after eight years – indicates the data of World Bank and the national statistical offices.
This is how the head of the news piece looked like in most of the announcements published. In addition, some of the announcements did not quote or specify the source of the news i.e., its initial origin. The next two days, the news was also quoted by the regional portal SEEbiz.eu, as well as by Bizlife.rs.
The website of Serbian Politika, really does have a news piece in the form as reported by Macedonian media, but below the text was the indication that the source of the news was Sputnik. Soon after that, however, even that was deleted by Politika.
In the attempt to conduct a detailed check of the news, one comes across the fact that the original of this news comes from the Agency RIA Novosti and that the news was initially published in the beginning of May! The original news is from 07.05.2023 and is still present on the website of RIA Novosti in the form of short news.
After that, the news was published by several Russian and, above all, Asian portals, and here we illustrate an example from a Russian medium. Namely, on 08.05.2023, a month and two days earlier, Politika and Macedonian media published the news reported by the Russian private agency Oreanda-news, from Sankt Petersburg. Apart from the main news from RIA Novosti, the text includes a statement given by the economic expert from the Economic Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (Professor Konstantin Adrianov), who explains the results as logical and regular that are due to, above all, the enormous increase of the price of raw materials and energy, caused by the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West.
Did Russia really have 2.3 trillion Dollars GDP for 2022?
In the beginning, the original version of text states that Russia was back on the list of Top 10 biggest economies, and on 8th place of countries with attained GDP of 2.3 trillion Dollars for 2022, leaving Canada and Italy behind, ”according to the data provided by World Bank and national statistical offices”. At the end of the news in RIA Novosti, one can find the following text:
GDP-ranking of the countries was calculated on the basis of the latest annual and quarterly data provided by National Statistical Offices in national currencies and, if required, recalculated into Dollars at the average exchange rate for the given period. For 2021, World Bank data was used (RIA Novosti, 07.05.2023).
Trying to check the accuracy of the data sets, we looked up three relevant sources and, it seems, that the numbers cannot be confirmed as specified in the news of RIA Novosti. The first source was exactly World Bank. According to the latest data of the World Bank in its database of open data, the number found for 2021 for Russia on produced goods and services is in the value of 1.778 trillion Dollars.
What does Russian central statistics say?
According to the Russian Federal Statistical Office, at the moment of checking the data (14-15.06.), the last data was from the beginning of April, more precisely, from 07.04. when consolidated data was published for the first three quarters and the initial assessment of the last quarter of 2022 for attained GDP. According to this data – Comment on Data, the GDP of the RF, in actual fact, underwent a decrease of the overall volume of 2.1 percent and the RF in 2022 produced goods and services worth 153435,2 (thousands-our note) billion Rubles or expressed into American Dollars using the exchange rate of the date of checking (1 Ruble=0,012 Dollars or 84 Rubles to a Dollar), the amount of 1830.5 billion Dollars or something slightly above 1.83 trillion Dollars.
The second GDP-assessment for 2022 in absolute value amounts to 153435.2 thousand billion Rubles, the physical GDP volume index relative to 2021 is 97.9%, the deflator index relative to 2021 prices – 115.8% – specifies the data comments of the Russian Federal Statistical Office from 07.04.2023.
According to IMF – 2.2 trillion Dollars in 2022
Closest to the data published by RIA is the data of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), also from April. According to the World Economic Outlook/IMF Perspectives from April 2023, the assessment of the growth of Russian economy is 0.7 percent, while 2022 was completed with minus 2.1 percent. This corresponds with the internal data provided by the Russian Statistical Office that places GDP physical volume at 97.9% relative to GDP in 2021. According to the same source, Russian’s GDP assessment on the basis of current prices expressed in trillions of Dollars for 2022, amounts to 2,22 trillion, while for 2023 it should amount to 2.06 trillion Dollars.
But the data cannot confirm whether the number is final for 2022 or whether we looking at the final assessment of the national statistical offices because both the IMF document and that of the Russian national statistical office have been published in April 2023 and new consolidated data could not be found on the Internet bearing in mind that the text in RIA Novosti was from 7th May.
Otherwise, if only the IMF projections are taken into consideration, the public should have noted that Russia had entered the list of Top 10 biggest economies last January when such data was published within the framework of the Davos Summit. This year’s edition in 2023, a video publication was presented, according to which Russia was then on the 9th place with a GDP of 2.133 trillion American Dollars. However, it has been stressed that this list was developed in accordance with IMF projections from October 2022.
Finally, last April, using the same World Bank data, the IMF, but also OECD, and the European Union, published a conclusion that the Russian economy was headed downwards due to the sanctions imposed. The data can be accessed on the link HERE.
Overall, according to the Internet search, “Truthmeter can neither confirm, nor deny the validity of the data published in the news on RIA Novosti from the beginning of May. Therefore, we are presenting here the numbers from several sources, including those of the Russian Federal Statistical Office. What can be confirmed however, is the fact that some of the Macedonian media, through Serbian media, published the news dated 7th May on 10th June as a new piece of news.