Visiting the Khabarovsk Goskomstat

by Shinichiro Tabata

I spent last August 1st through 14th in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk.1 Because my area of interest comprises general macroeconomic statistics for all of Russia, I go to Moscow every year, but this was my first trip to the Far East.

In July, I was advised by Prof. Masaaki Kuboniwa, then visiting the Moscow headquarters of the State Committee on Statistics (Goskomstat), that I should meet a person named Gennagiy Borovik of the Khabarovsk Goskomstat. So I soon headed to Khabarovsk where I quickly asked my host, Prof. Nadezhda Mikheeva,2 to contact the chairperson of the Khabarovsk Krai Committee of State Statistics (the Khabarovsk branch of Goskomstat). He was on break at the time, so I met instead with the deputy chair, Zoya Aksyuk.

On the morning of August 13th, Prof. Mikheeva took me to visit the Goskomstat offices in the center of the city. There I described to Ms. Aksyuk the Asian Historical Statistics Project of Hitotsubashi University and the technical assistance project of Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) for helping Russia to improve the compilation of input-output tables (I-O tables). I told her that in relation to these projects we had previously invited to Japan several of the staff from Moscow Goskomstat, including Alla Zharova and Aleksey Ponomarenko, who direct the compilation of national income accounts and I-O tables, and that we were planning to invite Vladimir Sokolin, Deputy Chair of Goskomstat, and Andrey Kosarev, head of the National Accounts and Balance of Payments Department, to Japan in December. Ms. Aksyuk seemed to know Ms. Zharova personally and showed great concern for our efforts to deal with the problems of Russian statistics. For nearly an hour, she responded politely to my questions.

What I especially wanted to ask in Khabarovsk was how national income statistics are compiled at the regional level. Below, I have listed the main points which I was able to confirm.

1. The Khabarovsk Goskomstat compiles only four categories of macroeconomic statistics: GDP, national income, input-output tables, and the balance of household incomes and expenditures (the first two are compiled monthly). However, because not all of the information can be gathered in the regions, as much as possible of it is compiled into tables and sent to Moscow. There, supplemental (in Russian, the word is doschet) work is performed to complete the tables. This means, for example, that the once completed 1995 I-O tables for the Khabarovsk region were sent to Moscow, but the final versions are sent later to Khabarovsk from Moscow.

Among the most important data which cannot be gathered at the regional level are foreign trade statistics (customs statistics), defense-related data, and data on railway shipments. Moreover, data on regional public finance, tax collection, banks, and so on are difficult to obtain because they are under the jurisdiction of national ministries and other vertical organizations. To get essential data, you somehow have to work out arrangements with the supervising organizations, one by one, and have them delivered to you. For example, data on product taxes and product subsidies, which are essential to compiling SNA production accounts, are offered by regional organs of the Finance Ministry.

2. Only production accounts are compiled for SNA accounts. Ms. Aksyuk had the person in charge of compiling the 1994 tables bring them and show them to me. The two of them emphasized that the tables were compiled according to instructions from Moscow, and in fact I could see at a glance that sector classifications and evaluation prices were the same as for the national tables for Russia.

Moscow is directing compilation of expenditure accounts (gross national expenditures) from 1996 (1995 data).

Data for system of material product (MPS) national income statistics (production as well as expenditures) through 1994 are available in the regions. But data from 1995 (materials dated from 1996) have not been compiled due to lack of funds.

3. When I asked if the 1995 I-O tables are based on SNA, I was told that they were, but when I asked about the relationship between the I-O tables and the SNA accounts, I was told that there was no connection at all. The cause of this contradiction may be that they have little understanding of SNA or that they are unable to gather all the information at the regional level, which is essential for connecting the two types of tables.

4. All of the above tables present statistics in nominal terms. With respect to deflators, the regions compile only consumer price indicators, so values in real terms cannot be calculated.

5. MPS national income statistics were first compiled in 1988, and they do not exist for prior periods. However, there are data from the 1960s for industrial and agricultural production. There are problems with regard to railway transport, and it seems that such data cannot be obtained at the regional level.

The Khabarovsk Goskomstat was established in the early 1920s, but data are hard to obtain for some past years, except for years such as 1940. Moreover, there was no consistency in the administrative classifications for statistics gathering because, for example, the Far Eastern Republic was established in the 1920s.

The above points correspond to the discussions of my questions by Moscow's Ms. Zharova and others. That information, which I then confirmed at the regional Goskomstat, comprised the main results of my trip to the Far East.

Once I had finished asking my questions, I was asked by Ms. Aksyuk when the Moscow Goskomstat people would be invited to Japan and what cooperation they would receive. As she spoke, I sensed her strong interest in our project. Recently, new statistical methods such as SNA have been introduced one after another in Russia, but lack of funding has meant that regional Goskomstat staff have been able to train in Moscow much less often than in the past. Our conversation impressed upon me the fact that it is difficult for the Russian economists and statisticians to become proficient in using the new statistical methods.


  1. The trip was funded by Japan's Ministry of Education in the form of a grant-in-aid for international scientific research on "Dynamic Analysis of Regional Socio-Economic Changes in Russia" (represented by Rihito Yamamura, Hokkaido University, Slavic Research Center).
  2. Prof. Mikheeva is Deputy Director of the Economic Research Institute, Far Eastern Division, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and is presently a visiting researcher at Hitotsubashi University, Institute of Economic Research.

Hokkaido University, Slavic Research Center