Why is Russia so backward and poor

interview How trade with Russia beyond oil and gas works

Do these raw materials still make up the bulk of imports from Russia?

Gerit Schulze: Yes, Russian deliveries to Germany are actually still very raw material-heavy. According to statistics, more than half is accounted for by mineral fuels such as oil, gas and still coal.
There are also other raw materials such as diamonds, gold, iron, copper or aluminum. Only then do processed products such as paper goods follow. For example, Russian suppliers helped out in 2020 to supply German supermarkets with toilet paper. Russia also exports agricultural chemicals, but also rubber and plastics. Overall, these are products with little added value.

And how is it the other way around? What does the export nation Germany deliver to Russia?

Gerit Schulze: The German delivery volume to Russia actually covers the entire spectrum of our industry. First and foremost, these are machines, systems and vehicles. The range is very wide. It ranges from packaging machines, agricultural engineering and machine tools to large-scale systems for the Russian raw materials industry and even cars. German premium cars in particular are still very popular in Russia. While the Russian automobile market slumped last year, German manufacturers were able to maintain their position in Russia. In addition to machines and systems, chemical products are still very much in demand. Primarily pharmaceuticals, fine chemical products, adhesives, lubricants, cleaning agents, also cosmetics and also food.

But didn't the sanctions mainly affect the agricultural sector?

Gerit Schulze: The Russian (!) Food embargo affects meat, milk and dairy products as well as fruit and vegetables from the EU and North America. Nonetheless, Germany continues to deliver large quantities of food to Russia, especially confectionery that is not subject to the embargo or cocoa and coffee preparations, flavors and beverages. German beer, for example, is still available in Russian supermarkets and is also very popular. Other product groups that are supplied from Germany are optical devices, medical technology, furniture and building materials.