Andrei Klepach, a deputy economics minister, said that the GDP decline in March also equaled 9.5%.
Klepach said the substantial decline in the first quarter was attributable to the slump in construction (a decline of about 20%) and lower tax revenues. The GDP also shrank due to reduced investment and retail trade volumes, Klepach said.
The economics ministry expects the country's GDP to decline 8.7-10% in April-June 2009 as compared with the same period of last year, Klepach said, adding, however, that the Russian economy "was beginning to rebound."
According to the ministry's estimates, Russia's economy will grow by 1.3% to 2.8% in the second quarter of 2009 as compared with January-March 2009.
Klepach said that the economics ministry would revise downwards its forecast of the country's GDP decline from the current 2.2%, adding that the figure given by the IMF was quite realistic.
The IMF issued a report earlier this week, saying that Russia's economy would shrink 6% in 2009 and grow 0.5% in 2010.
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News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.