Data recently issued by the CIS Statistical Office point out important similarities and differences in the economic performance of CIS countries during the previous decade (Statistika SNG, February 2000). In contrast to such Central European transition economies as Poland and Hungary, none of the CIS economies had by 1999 regained their 1990 output levels. Likewise, most CIS countries seem to be years away from achieving sustainable economic growth. Still, these data show that most of the region has since 1997 been in the midst a painful but promising economic recovery. While this upturn was interrupted by Russia’s August 1998 financial crisis, almost all of these countries had returned to growth by the end of 1999.
For most CIS countries, 1992 and 1994 saw the worst GDP drops, averaging more than 14 percent. The year 1993 was somewhat less disastrous, with GDP down by 10 percent on average. In 1996, seven of twelve CIS countries reported GDP growth, with Georgia and Kyrgyzstan showing 11.2 and 7.1 percent GDP growth, respectively. In 1997, ten out of twelve CIS countries enjoyed various degrees of economic recovery, with GDP growth in the double digits for Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus. Azerbaijan grew 5.8 percent in 1997, while Russia reported its first year of GDP growth (0.9 percent) in 1997 as well.
Although the August 1998 Russian financial crisis had a significant negative impact on growth throughout the CIS, GDP in that year only declined in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Moldova. In 1999, GDP rose in all CIS countries except Ukraine and Moldova, with growth of 3.2 percent in Russia and 7.4 percent in Azerbaijan. And virtually all CIS economies reported strong growth in the second half of last year.
ARE PEOPLE BETTER OFF THAN THEY WERE 10 YEARS AGO?