Tuesday, January 11, 2022

During the Pandemic, More than a Quarter of Surviving Russian World War II Veterans have Died

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 22 – More than 312,000 Russian veterans of World War II died during the pandemic between April 2020 and October 1, 2021, reducing their total below a million to 896,806. Because of the age of the veterans – most of them are in their 90s – large number of deaths could have been expected, but the pandemic made it worse.

            That is the conclusion Vedomosti offers on the basis of official Russian government data (vedomosti.ru/society/articles/2021/11/21/896895-pandemiyu-veterana-vov) which found that deaths per 1,000 of Russians over 85 had increased from 160 in 2019 to 190 in 2020. Independent experts said that the real figure was 209 deaths per 1,000 – or more than one in five.

            The main proximate cause of death among these aging veterans was covid infections and a low level of vaccination. (Only a third of elderly Russians are vaccinated.) And when such elderly people did become infected, they were far more likely to be hospitalized and die quickly than those in younger age cohorts, government officials said.

            The author of these lines when he was a child met an aging veteran of the Spanish-American War. Later he knew many who fought in World War I. And he is the proud son of a veteran of World War II. While time makes the passing of these generations inevitable, it leaves an empty place in the heart.

            May the Russian veterans of World War II who died last year rest in peace, and may their families find peace as well. 

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