Contestable Claims

Far too often we see a significant gap between Russia-related claims, even by top officials and respected authors, and the reality on the ground. We also often encounter a wide divergence in expert views on crucial policy questions related to Russia. This section has two basic aims: (1) to dispel misconceptions that could adversely affect the quality of U.S. policy toward Russia, particularly when vital U.S. interests are involved, through rigorous fact-checking where possible and (2) to identify and debate key dilemmas for decision-makers per the adage that “truth is born in argument.”

We invite you to explore the section and send us more claims to fact-check or debate using the rectangular red button below. (For most fact-checks, we’ve adopted the "traffic light" rating system: red for incorrect; yellow for partially correct; green for correct.)

Russia's currency is now "historically weak."

Russia's currency is now "historically weak."

Claim in 2017: "Because we [the U.S.] have stood firm, Russia is now—despite the boasts of its leaders—plagued by dwindling financial reserves, a historically weak ruble and poor international relations."in-betweenAt the time of this statement the Russian ruble was stronger versus the U.S. dollar than at any time since Fall 2015. (Fact-check done in January 2017.)

Russia doesn't make anything - newer version

Russia doesn't make anything - newer version

Claim in 2016: Russia’s “economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy, except oil and gas and arms.”in-betweenRussia also successfully sells goods and services in the space and nuclear-power industries. (Fact-check done in December 2016.)

GDP down by 40%, economy 1/2 of Britain's - Bret Stephens

GDP down by 40%, economy 1/2 of Britain's - Bret Stephens

Claim in 2016: Russia’s GDP contracted by 40% between 2013 and 2015. Its economy is now half the size of Great Britain’s.in-betweenCorrect only when measured in current USD without adjusting for inflation or other variations. (Fact-check done in November 2016.)

Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity.

Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity.

Claim in 2014: Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity.falseRussia’s international migrant population is the world’s third largest. (Fact-check done in October 2016.)

Life expectancy

Life expectancy

Claims in 2014 and 2016: Life expectancy in Russia is falling. falseIt has been rising since 2003. (Fact-check done in September 2016.)

Population decline

Population decline

Claims in 2014-2015: Russia’s population is shrinking.falseIt’s been growing since 2009. (Fact-check done in August 2016.)
What else should we fact-check or debate?

Click to Subscribe

Russia Matters offers assorted weekly news and analysis digests, event announcements and occasional newsletters.
Choose and sign up here!
Recent Analysis