Russia, which is heavily dependent on oil and gas exports, has been hard hit by the current financial crisis, which has dampened worldwide demand and sent energy prices down. Businesses, struggling to repay their loans, have been closing down or laying off employees en masse.
"State employment agencies have registered 1.7 million people, and 1.4 million of them are receiving unemployment benefits," Rosstat said.
However, according to figures calculated to International Labor Organization (ILO) standards, 6.1 million people, or 8.1% of Russia's workforce, were jobless as of late January, Rosstat said.
In December 2008, 5.8 million people, or 7.7% of "the economically active population," were unemployed, according to ILO standards.
Analysts expect unemployment in Russia to grow as the global economic crisis continues. The country's Social Development and Health Ministry earlier said official unemployment figures could reach at least 2.2 million this year.
President Dmitry Medvedev sacked four regional leaders on Monday in a move experts said was punishment for their poor performances as well as a warning to others.
In a televised interview on Sunday, Medvedev said some of the regional governors were "inept and inefficient," and not "responsible enough in dealing with unemployment" amid the ongoing crisis.RIA Novosti