Financial TimesFinancial Times

Russia still has options to sustain its creaking war economy

By Tony Barber

30 Aug 2023 · 3 min read

According to Russia’s official statistics agency, production of vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers was more than 50 per cent higher in June than in the same month of 2022. Meanwhile, the central bank reports that, in the first quarter of this year, shortages of workers at industrial enterprises were at their most acute since records began in 1998. The central bank also estimates annualised inflation over the past three months at 7.6 per cent, well above its 4 per cent a year target.

Naturally, we have to treat official economic data in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia with considerable caution. But the picture painted by these three indicators is probably not far from the truth. Eighteen months after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia displays many classic symptoms of a wartime economy, such as inflation, labour shortages, rising government expenditure and deficit financing.

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