Is Russia really “an oil and gas company masquerading as a country”?

That’s the characterization usually attributed to Se. Lindsey Graham.

Let’s drill down on that, starting with some GDP stats.

Russia’s GDP is only about $1.5 trillion.



Let’s out that number in perspective…


Russia’s “economy” is less than 1/10th of the U.S. economy (which is approaching $20 trillion).

More broadly, the Russian economy is  about the 12th largest in the world … smaller than Italy and Canada … and just a little bigger than South Korea, Australia and Spain.



Taking another perspective on Russia’s $1.5 trillion…

Russia’s economy is smaller than California’s … and roughly equal to those of Texas and New York.




Finally, what about Russia’s dependence on oil & gas?

Using the narrowest direct measure, oil & gas production accounts for 15% to 20% of Russia’s GDP …. down from a high of 25% when oil prices were sky high.

More broadly about 60% of  Russia’s national budget depends on duties and taxes attributable to the oil and gas sector directly or indirectly. Source

Bottom line: Sen. Graham is directionally corrt.

Russia’s economy is relative small and heavily dependent on oil & gas.

Which make’s you wonder why Germany — if it really views Russia as a significant geo-political threat — is propping up the Russian economy with its oil and gas purchases.

Maybe President Trump has a point!


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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One Response to “Is Russia really “an oil and gas company masquerading as a country”?”

  1. LosLobos Says:

    That’s one way to see it. Another is called “mutualism,” yet another is how most economists view trade: nations with strong trade relationships don’t go to war with each other lest they wreck themselves

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