Preliminary estimates from the Federal Statistics Service came slightly better than a 0.8 percent estimate released last month by the Economy Ministry. In April, the minister said retail sales grew 3.2 percent while fixed capital investment shrank 4.8 percent year-on-year.
Sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union to Russia led to several capital outflows: net capital outflows from the private sector increased sharply in the first quarter of 2014 to USD 50.6 billion, from USD 27.5 billion a year earlier, data from the central bank showed.
The ruble depreciated more than 5 percent against the US dollar since the beginning of the year. As a result, the central bank already increased rates twice this year to 7.5 percent, aiming to curb inflationary pressures from a weakening currency.
According to Mr. Ulyukayev, the economy contracted 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of 2014 and is likely to shrank between 0-0.1 percent in the second quarter.
Later in April, the IMF said Russia is already in recession. The OECD recently lowered its 2014 GDP growth forecasts for Russia to 0.5 percent from a previous 2.3 percent.