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Russia revises up 2021 GDP growth estimate from 4.7% to 5.6%

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's federal statistics agency on Friday revised up its estimate for economic growth in 2021 from 4.7% to 5.6% as it said the country bounced back from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than first believed.

The Rosstat statistics office said the new figures were based on a more complete set of information on business performance, balance of payments data and government accounts.

That is likely to be the strongest annual performance for some time, as the fallout from Russia's military campaign in Ukraine and the imposition of sweeping Western sanctions has pushed the Russian economy into recession.

Independent analysts expect the country's economy to struggle for years due to the loss of crucial energy exports to Europe and access to Western technology and finance.

President Vladimir Putin said this year's economic decline is set to be less than 2.5%, while the economy ministry's official forecast sees a 2.9% contraction.

In the days after Moscow launched what it calls a "special military operation" in February, some analysts had expected Russia to suffer a double-digit hit to gross domestic product in 2022.

Rosstat said the economy shrunk 3.7% on a year-on-year basis during the third quarter of 2022 - unchanged from a previous estimate.

At the start of the year, the government had expected annual growth of 3% in 2022.

(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Jake Cordell; Editing by Alison Williams)