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Ignorance or deliberate disinformation? Obama’s 'facts' about Russia all wrong

Published time: August 04, 2014 22:48
Edited time: August 05, 2014 09:21
U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Larry Downing)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Larry Downing)

Barack Obama has made light of Russia in his latest interview, coming up with four facts to illustrate the poor state of things in the country, which – strangely enough – had little to do with reality.

“I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn't make anything,” Obama said in his interview with the Economist. “Immigrants aren't rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking.”

RT has gathered the more recent statistics on the subjects touched upon by the US president.

‘Russia doesn’t make anything’ – WRONG

According to Russia’s Central Bank, the export of products and services has brought Russia $593 billion in 2013.

Some $355 billion in that figure is from oil and gas sales, but the remaining $238 billion came from other – non-energy – sectors of the economy.

Russia long-ago established itself as the world’s second-largest suppliers of arms after the US.

Moscow sold $15.7 billion worth of weaponry to 60 countries, including the likes of China and India, last year.

Russian high-tech solutions in atomics, space industry, aviation, telecom, computer software and many other fields are also in great demand around the globe.

‘Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow’ – WRONG

In terms of migration, Russia is ranked second in the world and is only surpassed by the US, the United Nations has stated. According to UN estimates, there are currently 11 million foreigners residing in Russia.

Since the fall of the USSR, Russia has been an attractive destination to descendants of former Soviet republics, with the flow of immigration increased fourfold in the last decade, Lyubov Eltsova, deputy trade minister, said.

In 2013, over 420,000 immigrants arrived in the country, Russia’s Federal Migration Service calculated.

According to the agency, there are also 3.7 million foreigners who are staying in Russia illegally, without proper registration.

As for Moscow, the Russian capital hosted 1 million migrants in 2013, the Federal Migration Service said. This means every 12th person living in the megapolis is a 'guest of the capital', according to official data only.

‘Life expectancy… around 60 years old’ – WRONG

Back in 2000, following a decade of “the wild '90s,” male life expectancy really was at catastrophic level in Russia, standing at just 58 years.

But this this marker has been improving at a good rate since then, reaching 64 years, according to the World Health Organization.

As for women, “We’ve have reached the highest level in the history of our country, including Soviet and post-Soviet periods – 76.5 years,” Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova announced this April.

­The annual birth rate in Russia has been steadily increasing by 100,000 annually over the last few years, and has recently exceeded the death rate. Over the period of January-June 2014, more than 935,500 of children were born in Russia.

According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs Olga Golodets, "It is desirable that the birth rate should reach 2 million… which would allow many of the risks for our state to be removed in this generation."