Russia’s chief macroeconomic planner ran into trouble with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday, after saying Russia was already in a recession.
‘It (recession) has started already. I’m afraid it will not be over in the next two quarters,’ Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach told reporters.
The comments, the first official acknowledgement the economy was shrinking, came at the end of a week of bad numbers: third quarter GDP growth was the slowest in three years and the October trade surplus hit a 13-month low.
Within hours, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told a different story,trumpeting full year growth of around 6 percent for 2008 and predictingthat Russia would weather the financial storm.
The Kremlin’s international public relation advisers thendistributed a statement marked ‘URGENT’ using Putin’s remarks to implythat Klepach’s assessment was wrong.
‘In connection with the statement of deputy economics ministerAndrei Klepach to the effect that a recession was starting in Russia,we would draw your attention to the words of Prime Minister Putintoday,’ the e-mailed statement said.
‘We would be grateful if you could correct any coverage suggesting that Russia is in recession,’ the mail concluded.