So this map has been sitting at the top of /r/MapPorn for the past day, and has been ReTweeted a bunch of times.
Of course this is measuring by nominal GDP.
Here is how the comparison would look like if you were to measure the Russian economy by PPP-adjusted GDP.
Question: Which one should you use?
GDP (PPP-adjusted) is better for proxying:
- National power (inc. military power, if the country in question has a largely self-sufficient military-industrial complex)
- Real living standards in its per capita version
- Historical comparisons of the above
GDP (nominal) is better for proxying:
- Financial power
- Various debt burden calculations, where said debts are denominated in foreign currencies
- Most importantly these days, “proving” that Russia is a gas station with nukes
These Russia = Spain/Texas comparisons are beloved tropes of anti-Russian Western politicians, done to demonstrate that Russia is supposedly really weak, and argue for a more “resolute” stance towards Russia in terms of sanctions, Syria, Ukraine, etc.
But the supreme irony is that it is the PPP-adjusted comparison that become even more relevant if their proposals were to be seriously taken up.