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A tale of two economies: Russia vs. Ukraine


The world's eighth-largest economy and largest energy exporter, Russia has a population of 143 million. It is one of the world's largest crude oil and natural gas producers, with much of its gas exports flowing through Ukraine to Europe. Other major industries include mining, manufacturing and information technology.

Economic outlook

Russia's economy has wilted, with growth tallied at just 1.3 per cent last year, the slowest since the 2009 recession. That's a far cry from the 2000-08 period, when its economy expanded at an average annual rate of 7 per cent. Some economists believe Russia's economy will contract in the coming months.

Fiscal situation

Escalating tensions have sparked a jump in interest rates along with a plunging currency and stock market. Russia now faces an international backlash – with potential trade sanctions – and sliding foreign capital inflows, all of which bode ill for government finances. Standard & Poor's said Monday that it is monitoring developments in Russia and Ukraine and "may take action" on the countries' credit ratings.

Trade with Canada

Russia is Canada's 21st-largest destination for exports, with top exports last year including pork, shrimp, boring machinery and aircraft. Canada imports oil, palladium, salmon and tires from Russia. Companies that have entered, expanded or done business in Russia in recent years include Imax, Kinross Gold, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, SNC-Lavalin, and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates.

Ease of doing business

Russia ranks 92nd in the World Bank's ease-of-doing-business index, an improvement from its 111th-rank a year earlier. It's still far from a goal set by President Vladimir Putin to boost Russia's standing into the top 20 by 2018.


Ukraine, with a population of  46 million, has the world's 54st-largest economy. Its main industries include mining, chemicals, agriculture and high tech, and many of its exports go to Russia. Ukraine is the world's largest sunflower producer, as well as a major corn and wheat exporter.

Economic outlook

Ukraine's economy has been weak for years, with slowing gross domestic product for five successive quarters before a small pickup at the end of last year. The World Bank had predicted a slight recovery this year, although that forecast was made before the recent escalation of tensions with Russia.

Fiscal situation

Dire. Ukraine's interim government on Monday requested a $15-billion (U.S.) rescue from the International Monetary Fund. The country's need for cash comes after Russia suspended a $15-billion bailout made in December. Ukraine's acting president, Oleksander Turchinov, has said the country will need up to $35-billion in financial aid, and warned that the economy is "sliding into the abyss."

Trade with Canada

Canada exports coal, hake, medicine and pork, although Ukraine doesn't crack the top 50 export destinations. We import amounts of coal, corn, millet and hockey sticks from Ukraine. Canadian companies operating in Ukraine include I skander Energy and Black Iron. Calgary-based Transeuro Energy is in the process of exiting the country, citing recent political events and "unsuccessful operational results."

Ease of doing business

Ranked a distant 112nd in the World Bank index, up from 140 a year earlier. Doing business "is not easy and requires a long-term vision of the market's potential," notes the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.

Sources: Export Development Canada, Statistics Canada, federal government, Bloomberg, U.S. Energy Information Administration, World Bank.

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