Vladimir Putin, at the annual congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, once again boasted of the success of the Russian economy and took pity on Western countries that "have to go to Russia for turnips." But he did it in his usual manner - he rigged and exaggerated the real facts a little.
First of all, he mentioned the drought and falling crops in Europe. In Russia, according to Putin, there are no such problems:
“It has gotten to the point that their [Western countries] leaders are offering their citizens to switch to turnips instead of lettuce and tomatoes - turnips are a good product, but you will probably have to go to us for turnips, because our crop level is much higher than those that our neighbors in Europe have.”
Technically, Putin is, of course, right: a priori, no country in Europe can compare with Russia in terms of the amount of harvest, simply because the territory of the latter is incomparably larger. The area of Russia is 17.1 million square meters. km, which is four times the territory of all 27 EU member states (4.2 million sq. km). But even if we compare the harvest harvested in Russia in 2022 and the harvest harvested in the EU + UK countries for the same period (the area of the UK is about 244 thousand sq. km), it turns out that the indicators of Western countries are higher. The total grain harvest in Europe ( according to the European Association of Agricultural Traders COCERAL) is 285.1 million tons, in Russia ( according to Rosstat) - 153.8 million tons. The wheat harvest in the EU and the UK is 140.7 million tons, in Russia - 104.4 million tons. The yield of other crops is generally incomparable: barley in Europe - 58.5 million tons, in Russia - 3.2 million tons, corn in Europe - 50.7 million tons, corn in Russia - 11.8 million tons. And this despite the fact that in Europe there really was a record drought, because of which the farmers managed to harvest much less than usual - here Putin did not lie.
When the general director of PJSC Kamaz, Sergey Kogogin, began to talk about the problems of the automotive market in Russia, from which almost all Western companies left, Putin interrupted him, deciding to remind him of the “victory” of the Russian Federation over European countries in at least one indicator - truck sales.
Sergey Kogogin: If we compare the size of our market, for example, with the Chinese one: we have a market of 75-80 thousand vehicles a year in heavy trucks, there it is 1.5 million. The scale is completely different - not to refuse cooperation, but to create the conditions that will allow us to use our position. Still, whatever you say, the Russian market, even with such strong differences, is still the sixth or fifth in the world - it is enough to sell on cooperation.
Vladimir Putin: And in Europe, Sergey Anatolyevich? Sixth - in the world, and in Europe?
Sergei Kogogin: And we are the first in Europe. There are not so many.
Vladimir Putin: Here.
Firstly, it is funny that with all the anti-Western rhetoric and endless discussions about Russia’s “special path”, Putin still considers it a part of Europe and seeks to compare the domestic car market not with the Chinese, but, for example, with the German one. However, even here it turns out not entirely fair, because the population of Germany (the first in the EU in this indicator) is 84.3 million people, and the population of Russia is 146.4 million. Considering that the difference in truck sales is not so big (84.2 thousand . in Russia according to "AUTOSTAT" against 71.3 thousand in Germany according to the German organization VDA), it is unlikely that the Russian Federation would have won this duel with comparable population figures in Germany).
But the general situation in the Russian car market is much sadder: at the end of 2022, sales of all cars in Russia fell by 58.7%, amounting to 626,281 units. For comparison, 179,247 cars were sold in Germany (-2.6%). And in general, the year for the German car industry was very successful financially, but in Russia, as experts say , there are no prospects for starting production from scratch without Western components.