The secondary sector, still fundamental both for employment capacity (albeit reduced compared to the last Soviet period due to privatization and productive reconversion) and for participation in the formation of national income, presents diversified activities, based on the enhancement of the abundant raw materials available in the Country, however increasing, like the USSR, the volume of resources used rather than realizing a more efficient management.
The particular importance assumed by heavy industries and suppliers of capital goods as well as the consistency of the sectors linked to war production constitute in fact, despite the slow and uncertain restructuring in progress, peculiar and binding aspects.oil and gas natural (coming mainly from western Siberia), but abundant are also those of coal, iron, uranium and mercury; while for other minerals (manganese, nickel, chromite, bauxite, copper, tin, zinc) the resources are much less abundant than those held in the past by the USSR as a whole. The presence of precious metals (gold and platinum) and diamonds is noteworthy. The first and increasingly predominant source of export income, the oil sector experienced considerable difficulties in the 1990s, linked to the lack of investments and translated into a reduction in production capacity; subsequently, however, the momentum was regained (also thanks to privatizations below cost and under-taxation which left enormous profit margins and therefore investment margins to companies) and production levels in the first five years of the century. XXI are back very high. Important transportation facilities have also been completed or started up – several oil pipelines, the oil port of Novorossijsk on the Black Sea and that of Novo Urengoj in northern Siberia. Electricity production relies on large thermal plants (fueled mainly by hydrocarbons) and numerous nuclear reactors (which provide 15% of the total energy production), as well as on the exploitation of the water power of large rivers (dams are mainly present in the systems of the Volga, Kama, but also in the North Caucasus), but it is decreasing (876,000 million kWh in 2000 with a decrease of 20% compared to 1990), while remaining the country in fifth place in the world ranking. In this abundance of mineral and energy resources, heavy industry continues to play a central role, starting with the steel industry, which began in the Tsarist era but then substantially favored by the guidelines of Soviet economic policy, also in relation to infrastructural needs and defense of the country: among the main production units are the complexes of Magnitogorsk, in the southern section of the Urals, Novokuzneck in western Siberia, and therefore the Novotulski, Nizhny Tagil and Petrovsk-Zabajkalskij plants, as well as the many and smaller locations in the Moscow area ( Tula, Lipeck, Noginsk, etc.). Metallurgical activities are also noteworthy, for non-ferrous minerals present both in the northern Caucasus ( Nalčik, Vladikavkaz ) and in the northern area ( Mončegorsk, Kandalakša, Norilsk) as well as in the Urals and in the regions of the Far East.
According to cheeroutdoor.com, the plants for aluminum, copper and nickel are running at full capacity and reinvest massively in the purchase of new technologies, while both production and exports have given excellent results thanks also to a recovery in the prices of these metals.. The will of the Russian government to restore an important position to the country on the international scene is also evident from a whole series of concrete decisions in some fundamental economic fields: first of all the unconditional support for an industrial revival. The industrial sector in 2003 contributed about 33%. to the formation of the GDP, occupying approx. 30% of the active population: more developed than any other, although not technologically advanced, is the mechanical industry, which supplies a rather diversified range of products, capable of satisfying to a large extent internal needs; there is also a growth in mechanical construction, light industries and food industries, sectors that had previously gone through a particularly severe crisis.
Of considerable importance is the automobile industry, which has its historical heart in Togliatti with the VAZ plants but is present in the Moscow-Niznij Novgorod-Yaroslavl triangle in Tatarstan with the production of industrial vehicles in Naberežnyie Čelny; in recent years, several foreign car manufacturers have also started production in various locations in the country, sometimes in existing leases, in agreement with Russian companies, other times by building plants entirely from scratch. The sector is certainly the one that has registered the best expansion trends. The aeronautical industry is also conspicuous: the civil sector went through a long stagnation due to a lack of internal orders and only began to recover after 2000; the military aviation sector, on the other hand, is still flourishing. Chemistry, consolidated only after World War II, offers a rather wide range of products: from acids, widely used in industry, and from fertilizers to plastics and synthetic fibers; The pharmaceutical sector is also appreciable for its production capacity although technologically backward compared to the reality of the more developed countries, mainly located in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Among the light industries, the agri-food industry is well established, with a more solid structure in the southern areas, where it finds better and more diversified supplies; on the contrary, the wood, pulp and paper industry is concentrated in the northern belt (regions of Smolensk, Kaliningrad, Kirov, Arcangelo, St. Petersburg, etc.), which find huge forest resources. Outside the manufacturing sector, the building materials sector is important, specializing in the supply of heavy prefabricated buildings; in the construction sector, however, prefabrication in reinforced concrete, intended for social housing, has gone through a long crisis, while the production of quality bricks and materials, destined for the new homes of the rich and Kirov, Arcangelo, St. Petersburg, etc.) the wood, pulp and paper industry, which finds huge forest resources there. Outside the manufacturing sector, the building materials sector is important, specializing in the supply of heavy prefabricated buildings; in the construction sector, however, prefabrication in reinforced concrete, intended for social housing, has gone through a long crisis, while the production of quality bricks and materials, destined for the new homes of the rich and middle class. The war industry also suffered a collapse in the 1990s, especially in the shipbuilding and armored vehicle sectors, which for decades had been the fulcrum of the Soviet military-industrial apparatus; the recovery, evident after 1998, mainly concerns the more advanced technology sectors, from missiles to electronics, and was heavily subsidized by governments under Putin’s presidency: the country is the fourth largest exporter in the world, after the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Overall, while the basic industrial branches have suffered the repercussions due to the loss of the role – already held by the USSR – of maximum power of the socialist world and, therefore, of privileged supplier of energy sources and capital goods to all the countries that gravitate in its orbit.