Economic effects of pandemic-related restrictions in Russia and their spatial heterogeneity

Evgeniya Kolomak


Relevance. The spatial dimension of economic development is always in the focus of the political and research agenda. Regional disparities, along with different rates of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and decentralization of restrictive measures, resulted in significant differences in Russian regions’ economic responses to the pandemic. The relevance of this study is determined by the need to investigate the reasons behind these regional discrepancies.

Research objective. This study aims to analyze the economic consequences of the pandemic-related restrictions and the degree of the spatial heterogeneity of these effects in Russia.

Data and methods. We rely on the Rosstat data to build the indicator of the level of economic activity in Russian regions in April-May 2020. We tested the hypothesis that developed regions, large cities and small businesses will suffer more, and considered the impact of the reduced demand in world markets. The significance of the factors was tested by using regression analysis.

Results. The results of our analysis have shown that economic activity in the country decreased by almost 25% due to the lockdown measures, and in some regions, the decline in production output was more than twofold. The urban economy proved to be more resilient to the restrictive measures compared to the average business activity in the country. Due to its diversified structure, the urban system has a wider adaptive capacity and survived the first period of the lockdown with less losses. SMEs, due to their flexibility and entrepreneurial initiative, supported the economies of their regions. Larger and more developed regions, all other things being equal, suffered more from the pandemic. This influence, however, was offset by other factors, and the expected trend towards spatial convergence was not observed.

Conclusions. While all the previous crises that Russia experienced in the post-Soviet period were accompanied by decreasing regional discrepancies, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the spatial differences, on the contrary, increased.


COVID-19, restrictions, economic activity, spatial heterogeneity, empirical analysis

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