BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2017/46

Rosstat reports that in recent years 11–12 % of revenues of all firms and organisations (excluding funding received from government budgets) have been generated by firms or organisations that have at least some direct ownership by the federal government or a regional government (at least about 30,000 entities). Their revenues are highly concentrated. Surveys by the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) show that just 54 large state-owned enterprises (SOEs) account for 8 % of revenues. When 20 indirectly state-owned firms are added the share rises to 12 %. The business magazine Ekspert arrived at the 11 % figure by combining revenues of all SOEs on its "Ekspert 400" list of Russia's biggest companies. Gazprom and Rosneft together already account for over 4 % of total revenues.

Any statistics on the GDP produced by SOEs has not been published. Based on the financial accounts of Gazprom and Rosneft, RANEPA researchers estimate that the share of those two in Russian GDP has clearly exceeded 10 % in recent years. If the ratios between earnings and GDP produced in other SOEs are similar to that of Gazprom and Rosneft, RANEPA reports the SOEs account for around 25–30 % of GDP. A couple of similar estimates exist. The share could also be somewhat smaller as profitability that reflects the relationship between GDP produced and earnings has been notably better in the oil & gas sector than in other sectors.

Rosstat records that the share of the government sector (includes federal, regional and local governments) in GDP produced has slightly exceeded 13 % in recent years. When the above estimates of the SOEs' share are added, the share of the entire public sector would be around 40 %. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) earlier put the share at around 35 %, but EBRD stopped publishing that piece of information in 2010.

In any case, the share of Russian GDP produced by the government sector and SOEs is far less than 70 %, a figure floating around for the past couple of years. The 70 % figure actually refers to the ratio of gross earnings or spending of government budgets and SOEs to GDP (which despite the term "gross" measures net flows of goods and services).

However, SOEs in Russia account for a much larger share of the economy than in e.g. Turkey or Brazil. Public ownership may be a drag on firm efficiency and may limit competition, and the state's role in the economy is naturally a much broader issue than mere shares of GDP.