Rosstat declined to declassify 4.7% of GDP :: Economy :: RBC

After Rosstat transition to the new system of national accounts in the Russian GDP appeared the classified portion. This expenditure on armaments and intellectual property, which account for about 4.7% of GDP

Photo: Andrew Lubimov / RBC

In early August, the Rosstat published the updated data (*.rar) on the volume, structure and dynamics of GDP, over 2011-2017. The second year all data from 2011 is presented in a unified methodology of the 2008 SNA (“System of national accounts 2008”), in which the composition of GDP are government spending on long-term arms (military aircraft, ships, tanks, etc.) and the results of scientific research and development.

But these components that add to nominal GDP, trillions of rubles, again not disclosed by Rosstat. The Ministry representatives explained that this is due to the requirements of the law on state secrets.

Secret category

Last year, the Rosstat has completed the transition to the international methodology of SNA 2008: according to her “gross fixed capital formation”, which is part of GDP, began to consider the costs of weapons systems-expendable and research and development that can be demanded in the market. The latter are included in “intellectual property Products”, together with the costs of exploration of mineral resources, the creation of computer software and databases, etc., However in the national accounts, Rosstat category “the Cost of weapons systems” and “intellectual property Products” not visible by gross fixed capital formation by types of fixed assets they are not highlighted.

As a residual can be calculated that the costs for the purchase of arms and the creation of intellectual property products amounted to about 4.1 trillion in 2016 (the difference between aggregate gross fixed capital formation 17.7 trillion roubles and expenses on other assets, such as buildings and structures, machinery and equipment, etc.). Detail of gross for 2017 are not yet available.

4.1 trillion rubles. — it is 4.75% of Russia’s GDP for that year. These data are confidential, said RBC Rosstat. “Rules of placement of information in respect of which the Federal state statistics service applies a special procedure for the collection, processing and publication are determined by the ministries and departments in accordance with the requirements of the law “On state secret”, — stated in the answer of the Deputy head of Rosstat Irina Masakova to a request to RBC.

Plans to declassify no

Rosstat has not explained whether the costs of the category “intellectual property Products” themselves a state secret or hidden that it was impossible to calculate the expenditure on armaments. Rosstat has concealed information about scientific research and developments, because developments are dual-purpose, said RBC head of the Department of applied macroeconomics higher school of Economics, member of the Public Council of the Rosstat Gavrilenkov.

He previously played for the Rosstat publication costs for the purchase of weapons and discussing the issue with relevant agencies. “The total cost for the purchase of arms is a generalized indicator. If we can prove that this figure will be published” — said the head of Rosstat Alexander Surinov in the report in 2016 (*.pdf). According to him, the initiative on the disclosure of the data supported the Public Council of the Rosstat.

Alexander Surinov

(Photo: Maxim Blinov / RIA Novosti)

However, the question of RBC, does Rosstat continue to publish these aggregate figures, the Ministry replied in the negative. “In the near future change the order of publication of data on the specific structure of fixed capital is not provided,” — said in response. The decision not to publish government spending on weapons systems does not come from Rosstat, says chief economist “PF Capital” Evgenie Nadorshin. “Arguing is pointless, if the defense believes that the information is impossible to disclose,” says Gavrilenkov.

“Pointless and counterproductive”

The secrecy of these defence procurement leads to transparency and, as a result, ineffective spending, says head of military economy laboratory of the Gaidar Institute Vasily Zatsepin. “The latest data on the purchase of weapons in Russia declassified in 1966. It is pointless to classify purchases and prices. It only creates more problems in the management of the defence sector. It is counterproductive,” says Zatsepin.

Russia spends for the development and purchase of weapons 70% of the military budget, said on August 27 adviser to the Minister of defence Andrey Ilnitsky in the air of “Vesti FM”. Defense procurement in 2017 amounted to 1.4 trillion In 2018 it allocated 1.5 trillion rubles In the last two years the government reduces defense spending. In 2017 spending Russian defense fell for the first time in 19 years, noted the Stockholm international Institute for peace studies (SIPRI).

The secrecy of the data series in materials Rosstat leads to a decrease in the quality of analysis of economic processes, says Nadorshin. “Full, adequate, and timely statistics are a necessity, if we want to understand economic processes, to make the right decisions and to develop,” he said. “Unfortunately, due to the completely unjustified fear of disclosure of secrets introduces additional inaccuracies in the official statistics, and it greatly reduces the ability to analyze the processes in the economy. The unavailability of adequately, promptly and fully to publish the stats about the state of the economy leads to the fact that experts are deprived of tools for analysis, but politicians and officials misleading population figures, not connected with reality” — says the economist.

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