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Our Top Facts on Russia

What kind of Russia did Mr. Putin has inherit from Boris Yeltsin?

March 27, 2000

What kind of Russia did Mr. Putin has inherit from Boris Yeltsin?

On March 26, Russia held its second-ever presidential election. With Acting President Vladimir Putin the overwhelming favorite, the biggest question facing the country was whether Russians would even bother voting. Our Globalist Factsheet profiles the Russia that Mr. Putin has inherited.

Is Russia an “economic superpower”?

Even though Russia’s landmass makes it the world’s largest country, its economy accounts for only 1% of world GDP.

(Washington Post)

How important is Russia for the U.S. trade?

As of 1999, Russia ranked 30th on the list of U.S. trading partners — between Colombia and Dominican Republic.

(Washington Post)

How has Russian small business developed since the end of the Soviet Union?

As of early 1999, there were an estimated 897,000 small businesses operating in Russia. By contrast, the United States has 23 million small businesses.

(New York Times)

How does Russian small business power compare to that of other countries?

Russia’s small businesses contribute only around 10% of the country’s GDP. In many Western economies, small businesses produce more than 50% of GDP.

(Wall Street Journal)

What special “tax” do Russian businesses have to pay?

Companies based in Russia and Ukraine pay an average of 5.7% of their annual revenues in bribes to government officials.

(European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)

Is doing business in Russia easy?

Back in 1993, fewer than 100 corporate bankruptcy cases were filed in Russian courts. In 1998, Russian courts accepted more than 10,000 bankruptcy petitions.

(Wall Street Journal)

Are foreigners interested in Russia as a business place?

In 1998, Russia attracted only $1 billion in foreign direct investment — or about 0.25% of the world total.

(U.S.-Russia Business Council)

How are Russians faring in post-Soviet times?

Siberia and the Russian Far East — home to less than 3% of the Russian population — accounted for 25% of the country’s regular Internet users in early 2000.


Do Russians have confidence in their politicians?

In the December 1999 parliamentary elections, nearly two million Russian voters marked “none of the above” on their ballots. That was more than the number of votes received by 20 of the 26 political parties listed on ballots.

(New York Times)

Why is alcohol such a serious problem?

In 1996, more than 35,000 Russians died from alcohol poisoning — about 115 times more than the United States’ 300 deaths.

(American Enterprise Institute)

How healthy are Russians?

As of 1997, the life expectancy at birth for a Russian male was 61 years — below current estimates for Egypt or Paraguay.

(American Enterprise Institute)

How did Russia’s population develop since 1991?

The population of Russia fell by almost 800,000 in 1999 to 145.5 million. That was the largest loss in a year since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

(Agence France-Presse)

What role does the Russian military play?

During the late 1990s, the United States accounted for nearly 50% of weapons sales around the world. By comparison, Russia’s share of world arms sales has been around 4%.

(Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

What happened to Russia’s nuclear arsenal between 1992 and 1999?

During the Clinton administration’s tenure, 1,500 Russian nuclear warheads were deactivated and 300 missile launchers were destroyed.

(Foreign Affairs)

Where was a major part of U.S. aid to Russia invested?

Of the $4.5 billion in direct aid given to Russia by the United States between 1992 and 1998, $570 million — or 13% — has been for weapons dismantlement, demilitarization and controlling nuclear materials.

(Wall Street Journal)

Is Russia still a military super power?

Based on IMF estimates, Russian defense expenditures fell from 10.8% of GDP in 1992 to 5.2% of GDP in 1998. However, based on NATO estimates, Russian defense spending fell from 4.7% in 1992 to 2.5% in 1998.

(Washington Post)