The Kremlin has been painting a rosy picture of the country’s economy even amid a swathe of Western sanctions — but “the real situation is bad,” Igor Lipsits, a prominent Russian economist, told Reuters.

Official rosy pronouncements on the Russian economy are not a good gauge of how the Russian economy is doing because authorities are just trying to make the Kremlin happy, Lipsits added.

The economist confirmed the comments to Business Insider.

Lipsits’ comments shed some light on Russia’s seemingly resilient wartime economy, which is booming on the back of massive military and state spending. The phenomenon is baffling many economists, who were expecting it to crash after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.