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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 15:55 GMT
Russian economic growth slowing
Siberian oil facility operated by state-owned oil firm Rosneft
Economists have warned against growing Russian state control
Russia's economic growth slowed in the three months to the end of September, official figures have shown.

Its economy grew by an annual rate of 6.5% in the third quarter of 2006, down from 7.4% in the second quarter, said Russia's Federal Statistics Office.

Analysts blame the dip on Moscow's growing state control of the economy, particularly in the energy sector.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned that such moves are hitting efficiency.

'Hidden economic flaws'

The Paris-based global economic think tank told Moscow last month that the increasing state ownership was a "step back" for the Russian economy.

The concerns of the OECD have been echoed by economist Anders Aslund, an expert on the Russian economy.

He warned in the Moscow Times newspaper that President Putin's nationalisation campaign was "endangering" Russian economic growth.

Mr Aslund added that Russia's vast oil surplus was "so huge that it can hide many flaws in economic policy".

He said that after stripping out Russia's oil and gas bonanza, its economy was under performing its neighbours such as Kazakhstan and the Baltic States.

The OECD added that state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom was "of particular concern" due to its "seemingly insatiable appetite for asset acquisitions, often at the expense of its core business".

In the past two years Gazprom has bought Russian oil firms Sibneft and Rosneft and a host of other businesses ranging from electricity companies to media groups.

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