Country Analysis Essay: Russia

1. Per Capita GDP
Russia is the 10th largest economy. Its 2007 Per capita GDP was 8,122 USD, an increase of 17.2% from 2006.

2. Population
As of December 2007, 141.4 million people reside in Russia, about 700,000 people (or 0.5 percent) less than in 2006. 80% of population are ethnic Russians. 22 million (or 15%) of Russian live below poverty line.

3. Illiteracy Rate
The Russian education system is still one of the world’s finest, a tradition kept for centuries and developed extremely well under the communist regime. Russia’s illiteracy rate is as low as 0.3 of adult population.

4. Life expectancy at birth
Newborn girls in Russia have an average life expectancy of 73 years. Currently born males have a much shorter value of 59 years.

5. Main Language Spoken
Russia’s only official language is Russian (Русский: russkiy). English is not common as in Western Europe.

6. Chief Industry
The Russian economy is very dependent on energy production, which account to 25% of GDP two-thirds of total exports. With proven oil reserves of 60 million barrels, Russia is the world’s 8th exporter of oil and the first exporter, producer and holder of natural gas reserves. In addition, Russia has the world’s fifth largest gold reserves.
Manufacturing and agriculture contribute 19 and 5 percent to Russia’s GDP, respectively.

7. Main exports and imports
As mentioned, 65% of exports are oil and natural gas. Manufactured products and services account for 17 and 9 of exports, respectively. Russia’s main export destination is the European Union.
The main imports are manufactured goods (65% of total imports), services (20%) and agricultural products (11%). Russia’s exports exceed its imports by 164%.

8. Main Religion
The main religion is the Russian Orthodox Church. Minority religions include Catholics, Muslims and Jews.

9. Please elaborate on the transportation and communication system
Russia’s railway system covers a net of 87,157 km. Its highway system still requires development: only 336,000 km are paved, some of it is not a part of the national system.

The fixed phone penetration is 29 lines per 100 inhabitants. Interesting fact: for every 100 Russians there are 115 mobile phones.

10. Rates of inflation
Russia’s current inflation is about 10%, half of its rates during the beginning of the century, when the Rouble was still heavily devaluated after the economic crises of the late ‘90.

11. Please elaborate on health care, hospitals
Partially as a result of the excellent communist education system, there are today about 550 thousand physicians in Russia, which represent about 3.5 physicians per 1,000. However, these figures decline due to the relative weakness of the Russian social system and a migration of skilled labour to Western countries.

12. Infant mortality rate
In 2007, 14.8 death cases were registered for every 1,000 births.

13. Please elaborate on housing standards, including square footage per family, if possible.
The average Russian household is comprised from 2.6 occupants. About 70% of households are urban.

14. Please expound on the cultural and economic characteristics of Russia.
Russia is the world’s biggest country and 10th economy. Recovering from its post-communism “anarchi-capitalism” of the ’90s, Russia of Putin and Medvedev tries to re-establish the government’s control on the economy. Its land is rich with natural resources; the energy producing sector dominates Russia’s GDP and exports but employs only 1% of the population. However, investments in the industrial and real estate sectors, combined with a joining to the WTO, may dramatically diversify the economy, despite the lack of immediate incentives to do so due to the soaring gas prices. Further actions must be taken to increase transparency and reduce corruption (at all the levels), monopolies, social gaps, the overwhelming power of the “oligarchs” and inefficiencies among many sectors.

Russia is rather open to the West; however, reforms and policies are not made to please the West, as demonstrated in the summer ’08 war against Georgia.

Due to its position as an energy supplier, Russia’s trade balances are very positive and allow the government to impose a restrained monetary policy, focus by reducing Russia’s international debts from the ’90. Its currency, the Rouble, is also recovering and steadily develops against the USD the EUR.

But perhaps the main challenge of the Russian regime is not only to recover its economy but also its social system. With more than 22 million Russians living below poverty line, desperation leads to alcohol and drug abuse, which make the problem even stronger. Some experts warn that Russia in on the edge of an AIDS epidemic, whereas its social and healthcare systems had collapsed more than a decade ago. The economic implication of such an epidemic and the widening of socioeconomic gaps are a threat to a modern and prosperous Russia.

 Datamonitor. “Country Profile of Russian Federation, 2000-2010”. Marketline. 12 September 2008 < >
  Datamonitor. Russia Country Profile“. Marketline. December 2007. 12 September 2008 < >
  Euromonitor. “Russia: Country Profile”. Euromonitor International 11 July 2008. 12 September 2008 <>
  Euromonitor. “Russia Income and Expenditure.” Euromonitor International 5 June 2008. 12 September 2008 <>
  Euromonitor. “Russia business environment: Going strong
  despite many hurdles.” Euromonitor International 7 September 2008. 12 September 2008 <>
  Statistical Data Warehouse. European Central Bank. 5 September 2008 <;jsessionid=62CCBF156DD8522A0D1176061B3D7B07>

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