Economically 2013 was a year of broken illusions for Russia. GDP added just 1.3 percent, while everybody expected an average growth of 4 percent.

“This was a year of lost opportunities,” as Deputy  Minister for Economic Development Andrey Klepach put it.

Despite some progress in terms of improving the investment  climate  , infrastructure bottlenecks and a lack of domestic demand  weighed down Russian growth in 2013, says Vedomosti newspaper.

The year ends with investment contracting and industrial  production decreasing. December marked the continuing fall of  manufacturing activity as the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index  (PMI), which serves as a barometer of business conditions, had  its sharpest fall since December 2009.

The PMI index dropped to 48.4 in December from 49.4 in November,  slipping further below the 50-point mark that separates growth  from contraction, says the Wall Street Journal.

The fall was primarily caused by the end of large government  projects. “Bad news is that from the middle of the year  private investment also started falling,” said Dmitry  Belousov from the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis.

Analysts are divided in their expectations for Russian growth in  2014, with some saying nothing will change next year.

By the end of 2013 it became obvious that growth is contained not  only by restrictions on capital, but also by demographics:  unemployment decreased to a historical minimum, and there is an  expected 3 percent reduction in the economically active  population within the next three years, which will limit  potential production growth rates to 1.5-2 percent a year, says  Natalia Orlova, a senior economist at Alfa-Bank.

However, some other analysts consider that Russia is likely to  face some economic recovery in 2014.

On balance, we project the Russian economy to accelerate in  2014 from 1.5 percent yoy projected for this year to a fairly  moderate 2.4 percent yoy in 2014 and 2.8 percent yoy in  2015,” Artem Zaigrin, a financial analyst from Deutsche Bank  told RT.

Infrastructure development in the Far East/Siberia railways  as well as highways in the Central Federal district should add to  the headline growth,” he said.

However he doesn’t exclude possible difficulties in achieving  sustainable economic growth.

At the same time, we acknowledge the risks of lower oil  prices, which could hit business activity as well as the fiscal  and external balances.”

In turn, Ivan Tchakarov, the chief economist in Citibank sees two  key drivers for acceleration of Russia’s GDP next year.

Number one – after two years of a recession in Europe, Citi  predicts the eurozone economy to grow by 1 percent. And given the  fact that almost 50 percent of Russian exports go to Europe,  Russia very much depends on what happens there.

The second factor is that we expect some revival in  investment next year, which is driven by government decision to  freeze utility tariffs for industrial users next year. That was a  major initiative by the government to stimulate investment  spending.”