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March 24, 2021

Did Russia prioritise economy over people during pandemic?

By Paul Dennis

24 March

Russian economist Serge Guriev, re-tweeted an article on why the Russian economy may have performed better than Europe’s during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Guriev, Putin’s Covid-19 policy to prioritise economy over people and healthcare could have restored the economy more to some extent than others.

However, the choices have led to high mortality rates. While Russia’s GDP declined by 4% in 2020, the country’s official numbers revealed that coronavirus deaths accounted for nearly 60,000.

According to President Putin, Russia’s Sputnik V is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be registered in the world, with mass vaccinations having started in 2020 and thousands of doses supplied to Argentina.

Guriev argues that some of the statements are correct and some false.

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Firstly, it is true that the Russia’s Covid-induced economic recession will not be as deep as Europe’s.

While in the first half of 2020 international organisations forecasted a Russian GDP decline of 6, 8 or even 10% in 2020, they conceded back to 4%.

In fact, the Russian government’s projections are a bit better than the 4% decline, and also better than the numbers for the UK (-9.8), the Euro area (-8.3), Japan (-5.3), and the US (-4.3).

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