“THE CRAFTY FIGURE”: 30 YEARS LATERKhanin Grigory
The article combines research on state statistics of the USSR and the Russian Federation and the author's memories of the society's reaction to the work of the author and his colleagues in the alternative assessment of macroeconomic indicators of the economy of the USSR and Russia. The article by V. Selyunin and G. Khanin “The Crafty Figure”, published in the February issue of “Novy Mir” magazine in 1987, was a real shock to millions of Soviet people. In this paper, the author returns to the problem of statistics distortion in the Soviet and post-Soviet years, focusing on the huge distortions of the results and factors of the economic development of the USSR during 1928-1987 period by the Soviet economic statistics. The author describes the reaction to the “Crafty Figure” of the statistical service, the scientific community and the population of the USSR, as well as foreign economic Sovietologists, the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. The author criticizes S.C. Dzarasov’s evaluation of the debate in the United States around the “The Crafty Figure” as the proof of the correctness of the estimates of the Central Statistical Administration of the USSR. The author shows that the quality of economic statistics in the Russian Federation has not improved compared with the Soviet period, and the cost and dynamics of fixed assets, natural indicators of production, financial indicators, employment have even significantly worsened. The article presents the results of alternative assessments of the economic development of the Russian Federation for the 1992-2015 period. The author and his colleagues received these estimates using a different methodology than similar estimates of the Soviet period. The results of the calculations of recent years allow us to conclude that real economic indicators are much worse than those published by the Federal State Statistics Service: the dynamics of GDP and the output of the real economy, labor productivity, and the dynamics of fixed assets. The author also analyzes the reaction of the statistical service of the Russian Federation and the executive authorities, the scientific and economic community, the media, the population of the Russian Federation, Western economists and research centers to this research on alternative assessments of the post-Soviet period, conducted by the author and his colleagues. The author explains the reasons for the difference in the reactions during the Soviet and the post-Soviet periods.