Andrei Klepach, a deputy economics minister, said that the GDP decline in March also equaled 9.5%.
Klepach said the substantial decline in the first quarter was attributable to the slump in construction (a decline of about 20%) and lower tax revenues. The GDP also shrank due to reduced investment and retail trade volumes, Klepach said.
The economics ministry expects the country's GDP to decline 8.7-10% in April-June 2009 as compared with the same period of last year, Klepach said, adding, however, that the Russian economy "was beginning to rebound."
According to the ministry's estimates, Russia's economy will grow by 1.3% to 2.8% in the second quarter of 2009 as compared with January-March 2009.
Klepach said that the economics ministry would revise downwards its forecast of the country's GDP decline from the current 2.2%, adding that the figure given by the IMF was quite realistic.
The IMF issued a report earlier this week, saying that Russia's economy would shrink 6% in 2009 and grow 0.5% in 2010.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.