Russia's economy contracted by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2023 in annual terms, the economy ministry estimated on Wednesday, down from growth of 3% in the same period last year, Reuters reported. The ministry estimated that gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1.1% year-on-year in March, an improvement on a revised 2.9% drop in February. Russia's GDP is expected to rebound marginally this year from a 2.1% annual decline in 2022, the result of Western sanctions against Moscow after it despatched troops to Ukraine in February 2022. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is among those forecasting growth in 2023, although it expects global isolation and lower energy revenues to dampen Russia's economic growth prospects for years to come. Blunting the impact of sanctions are rising military production and huge state spending, allowing Moscow to plough on with what it calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine. Read more.