Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Moscow Paper Lists Russia’s Losses in Ukraine -- Until Kremlin Censors Them Out

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 25 – A Moscow newspaper reported that Russia had lost “no fewer than 2,000” dead in the fighting in Ukraine and another 3200 serious casualties by February 1, 2015, a story that stayed up until Kremlin censors removed those lines from the article lest it call into question Vladimir Putin’s constant refrain that there are no Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

            In an article about increased pay for Russian soldiers in 2015, “Delovaya zhizn’” reported these numbers, but they didn’t remain on the site for every long, according to Konstantin Zelfanov of Novy Region-2 yesterday (bs-life.ru/rabota/zarplata/voennosluzashchie2015.html  and nr2.com.ua/News/world_and_russia/SMI-V-Rossii-priznali-chto-poteryali-ubitymi-v-Ukraine-2000-voennyh-FOTO-104529.html).

            But the original uncensored article remained accessible in a cache on Google, and the key passage of that reads as follows, Zelfanov says. “The government of the Russian Federation has taken an important decision about the monetary compensation of military personnel who have taken part in military actions in the east of Ukraine.”

            “For the families of those who have died in the course of military actions in the east of Ukraine, monetary compensation has been set at three million rubles [40,000 US dollars] and for those who have become invalids during the military actions at 1.5 million rubles [20,000 US dollars].”

            “In addition,” the original version said, Moscow plans to pay contract soldiers a supplement of 1800 rubles [25 US dollars] for each day of combat.  As of February 1, 2015, Moscow had already paid monetary compensation “for more than 2000 families of soldiers who had been killed and for 3200 soldiers who were seriously wounded and recognized as invalids.”

            Given that six months of fighting have passed since that time, Russian losses, both killed and wounded, must now be much higher, although the Moscow authorities are doing everything they can, including censorship of this kind, to hide that fact lest Russians learn the tragic human costs they are paying for Putin’s aggression.



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