Russian analyst Mikhail Krutikhin shared in his publication some interesting observations about the quirks of official Russian statistics:
“In August, I published a column where I showed that it is difficult for Russia to earn the trust of investors, since the information published in our country is often illogical, contradictory and sometimes unreliable. I develop the topic.
First, a sketch from the chaotic and turbulent 1990s. I walk into a friend's office in the Ministry of Industry and Energy and wonder if he can supply the American magazine, where I worked then as deputy editor-in-chief, with monthly statistics on the production and export of Russian oil and gas companies. In the civilized world, such information is open to the public. He laughed and showed a piece of paper:
- Look, Misha, a list of eight editions. Do you see the numbers opposite the names? That's how much they unfasten me for this simple plate every month. Do you think I'm staying in the ministry just because of their miserable salary? This is the dream of any of our employees: your own office, copier and fax. And the extra earnings are provided.
Much time has passed since then, and the trade in data, which by all indications should be publicly available, has been put on a rolling track. This information is sold for a lot of money by the "granddaughter" of the Ministry of Energy - CDU TEK (Central Dispatch Office of the Fuel and Energy Complex). The office seems to be necessary in terms of collecting statistics, but its commercial activity is pure parasitism on the data that it receives from the ministry completely free of charge (and monopoly, of course).
Now about the data from CDU TEK (Central Dispatch Office of the Fuel and Energy Complex). Every month, TASS-Interfax publishes messages with reference to this bureaucratic and parasitic structure: how much oil and gas has been produced in the country and for individual companies, how much has been exported, by what percentage changes have taken place. It looks solid.
But try to act like the characters in old jokes who measured the length of rolls of 54-meter toilet paper or counted matches in boxes. Find these messages by month of the current year, add up the numbers and compare the amount with the total for the reporting period (say, 11 months from January to November). In April, by the way, nothing of the kind appeared in the media at all. You will get shit. The numbers do not "beat" either in Russia as a whole or in companies. The spread is fantastic. And if you look at the same data published by companies, you can see that crap is our everything, everywhere.
As I have been told many times in Russian companies, they send one statistics to the ministry, another to the tax authorities, a third to shareholders, and a fourth to potential partners. And how is it really with reporting - the devil himself will not understand.
The kingdom of crooked mirrors in all its glory..."
In their comments, Krutikhin's readers shared their experience, fully confirming the author's conclusions:
- It seems to me that they themselves do not really know how much oil is produced. My colleagues tried to analyze some data on oil flow rates from the well pad, they came up with a model for a long time, they were going to use their knowledge in Fourier analysis. But it turned out that everything did not work, because at the end of each quarter there were extra notes on production, displaying indicators that someone needed...
- So, in scientific analytical works, therefore, normal people use BP data as a rule, otherwise in the domestic statistics of various departments you yourself understand everything wrong, it is surprising how the government works blindly if such a curve statistics, and even the shadow sector of the Russian economy, cannot be calculated
- I wrote 5 years ago about another state agency - Federal Air Transport Agency. These figures, or rather their figures on passengers transported to the Russian Federation, aroused my suspicion back in 2008. And then every year they caused wild laughter. The last record year, it seems, was 2019. According to them, Russian airlines then carried more than 128 million passengers! Charles! 128!
- I am sure that this crap is not limited only to oil and gas. I have been working in fisheries for a long time and I know for sure that no one in the country knows where, by whom and how much fish is actually caught, even approximately. But this does not prevent Moscow from demanding reporting from the regions with an accuracy of kilograms. And this is like measuring the fog with a caliper and weighing it with a steelyard...