Friday, September 16, 2022

The More Economically Depressed a Russian Region Is, the More Likely Its Sons are Dying in Ukraine, Statistics Show

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 31 – Many have suggested that Russian forces in Ukraine come primarily from impoverished regions, both non-Russian republics and ethnic Russian oblasts and krays, a pattern that reflects the view of many in these places that military service can be a latter out of poverty and the desire of the Kremlin not to have combat deaths in major urban centers.

            But these observations usually are sparked by reports concerning the number of deaths in the federal subjects and the plausibility of both the desire of poorer people to join the military and the central government to do as much as possible to hide the true human costs of its war in Ukraine.

            Now, however, the IdelReal portal has provided a statistical analysis that confirms this pattern by comparing the ranking of the economies of the federal subjects in the Middle Volga in 2021 with the number of combat deaths in each, corrected for inflation by being expressed in deaths per 100,000 population (

            What the portal found confirms the assumptions many are making: Tatarstan, the subject with the best economic performance, had the fewest combat deaths per capita, while Mari El, the subject with the worst economic record has the most combat deaths per capita.   

            There is every reason to believe that the pattern found in the Middle Volga is typical of other parts of the Russian Federation and that, in short, this war like so many others is being fought by the least well off for the benefit of the most well off.

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