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Leonid Bershidsky

Russian Income Statistics Are Too Good to Be True

A surprise jump in real disposable incomes defies other official data.

Making ends meet in Russia.

Making ends meet in Russia.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov

Russians have reason to celebrate, at least according to data published by the national statistics office last week. Their real disposable incomes grew 3% year-on-year in the third quarter, the most since 2013.

The problem is, it’s unclear exactly where the improvement comes from.