Is Russia the World’s 5th Largest Economy in GDP, PPP?

August 16, 2023
RM Staff and Associates

rubles"Russia becomes Europe’s biggest economy.” That’s the headline that Kremlin-funded RT’s editors put on a story they ran Aug. 4. The story went on to trumpet that “Russia was among the world’s five largest economies and the largest in Europe in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) as of the end of 2022, despite Western sanctions, the latest World Economics report has revealed.” Three days later, analytical resource bne IntelliNews, which is focused on emerging markets, published an article repeating these two claims. “In these terms Russia has just overtaken Germany to become the fifth wealthiest economy in the world and the largest in Europe, worth $5.3 trillion,” the report said, without citation.

But are these claims accurate? We consulted the World Bank’s and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) databases, which both offer the following methodologically different approaches toward measuring countries’ GDP in terms of purchasing power parity: (1) absolute value of GDP, PPP, measured in current dollars, (2) absolute value of GDP, PPP, measured in constant 2017 international dollars, and (3) countries’ shares in world GDP, PPP, also measured in constant dollars. Only the first of these three approaches (GDP, PPP, in current dollars) supports the dual claim that Russia has become Europe’s largest and the world’s fifth largest economy in 2022 (see Table 1). The other two methods (GDP, PPP, in constant dollars and share of world’s GDP, PPP, in constant dollars) ran counter to these two claims, showing that Russia was Europe’s second largest economy after Germany, as well as the world’s sixth largest economy in 2022 (see Tables 2 and 3).1

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