Russian oil and gas regions during the COVID-19 crisis and their digital transformation

Rustem R. Akhunov, Liaisan. R. Akhunova, Sergey G. Marichev, Rishat I. Nizamutdinov


Relevance. One of the key long-term strategic goals of Russia's economic development is to increase the share of the digital and green economy in the gross product of the country and its regions.  The recession caused by the pandemic has brought to the forefront the challenges of digitalization in the country's oil and gas sector, which was among the hardest hit sectors, and thus required significant effort on the part of regional governments.

Research objective. This research aims to demonstrate the key role played by digitalization and environmentalization in the recovery of the Russian oil and gas regions from the pandemic.

Data and methods. The study provides an overview of the Russian and international research literature on the ways to foster economic recovery and growth after the COVID-19 pandemic, including the publications of the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. Methodologically, the study relies on the empirical, general scientific methods and methods of economic statistics. We used in our calculations the data from the open-access statistical yearbook 'Russian Regions' published by Rosstat.

Results The study analyzed the challenges of digitalization faced by Russian oil and gas regions to show the need for institutional transformations on the national level. We also formulated some recommendations for the improvement of the evaluation of regional governments' digitalization efforts in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the more general evaluation of the digital transformation of regional economies.

Conclusions To stimulate economic growth of Russian oil and gas regions recovering from the pandemic, a viable strategy would be to place a greater emphasis on their sustainable and digital development. In the international rankings such as the EDGI Ranking presented  annually by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), Russia occupies a high position in terms of e-government services and digitalization in other spheres. Nevertheless, as far as the Russian oil and gas regions are concerned, there are considerable disparities in terms of digitalization. To accelerate digital transformation, we would highly recommend to improve the methods of evaluation of the digital progress in regional government, especially to include a set of indicators characterising regional governments' responses to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


oil and gas regions, digitalization of economy, regional informatization, technological modernization of the oil and gas industry, assessment of the digitalization of regional governments, COVID-19 pandemic, digital maturity indicators

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Copyright (c) 2021 Rustem R. Akhunov, Liaisan. R. Akhunova, Sergey G. Marichev, Rishat I. Nizamutdinov

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