The U.S., as usual, tops the GDP A-list with $11.01 trillion. Japan closely follows with $4.36 trillion, and Germany with $2.08 trillion. China is also rising fast, reaching a GDP of $1.4 trillion in 2003.
Russia's GDP in 2003, according to the World Bank, was $433 billion. However, in terms of per capita income, Russia is behind many former Communist nations, let alone developed European countries. In a year, Russia managed only two steps up, from $2,130 per capita for 2002 to $2,610 in 2003, which is still far from the global average of $5,510 per year.
Accordingly, Russia is classified as one of the "lower-tier" countries, along with almost all the former Soviet republics and China. In 2003, China had an income per capita of around $1,000.
Igor Nikolayev, the chief strategist with the Russian consultancy FBK, says the World Bank's data agree with the information of Russia's Federal Service for State Statistics. In 2003, according to the latter body's information, Russians earned 5,162 rubles per month on average, which at that time equaled about $2,500 per year.
At the same time, analysts note, Russia has already overtaken Germany and has the world's second largest number of dollar billionaires. The income gap is so huge because of an uneven distribution of the fruits of economic growth, says Yevgeny Gontmakher, chief expert with the Center for Social Studies and Innovations. The other reason experts cite is that Russia is still building up its already huge international reserves, and now is in the global top ten for this indicator, which leaves a great deal of state revenue in the state coffers rather than people's pockets.
However, experts argue, the World Bank might be too pessimistic about Russians' prosperity. According to Russian analysts, consumer-spending figures for the period in question exceeded official incomes by 72%. The difference probably accounts for profits from shadow economic activities, Nikolayev believes.
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