Sunday, October 30, 2022

Per Capita, Non-Russian Republics Suffering Far Fewer Losses in Ukraine than are Many Russian Regions, an Indication of Their Relative Shares in Russian Army

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 28 – Because of Kadyrov’s bombast and Daghestan’s Protests, many in Russia and the West assume that non-Russians and especially North Caucasians are being used as Putin’s primary cannon fodder in his war in Ukraine and that they are suffering more combat losses than are predominantly ethnic Russian regions.

            But a new analysis by Vladimir Sevrinovsky of the Kavkazr portal which ranks the republics and regions of the Russian Federation not by absolute number of losses, the usual basis for drawing such conclusions but in terms of population shows that neither of these assumptions is correct (

            In terms of combat deaths per 100,000 population, Chechnya ranks 14th in terms of all Russian federal subjects; and Daghestan ranks 19th. The only North Caucasus republic in the top ten in terms of such losses per capita is North Ossetia, Sevrinovsky says, using standard demographic data and Mediazone counts.

            According to him, Buryatia ranks first with 30.86 deaths per 100,000 population, Tyva second with 30.60; North Ossetia third with 19.35; followed by Transbaikal (17.73), the Altai (17.07), Pskov (16.69), Kostroma (16.35), the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (15.95), Sakhalin (12.43) and Ulyanovsk (11.28).

            Of these ten, only two –Buryatia and Tyva – have non-Russian majorities, as the Jewish AO despite its name is overwhelmingly Slavic and Russian. The others are all predominantly and in some cases overwhelmingly ethnic Russian in terms of the composition of their populations. They are the ones who are sending the most men and suffering the greatest losses.

            Sevrinovsky says that “the most powerful correlation” between deaths in the Ukrainian war and  population size is poverty and especially extreme poverty. And he argues that poverty rather than selection by nationality is far and a way “the main factor leading people to go to war before mobilization,” although it is possible that has changed since.

            “Judging from these statistics,” he continues, “the readiness of the majority of Caucasians to fight in Ukraine is lower than among the representatives of many ‘Russian’ regions.” To be sure, Sevrinovsky says, the absence of reliable death figures may mean that there are problems with these conclusions.

            But what numbers are available do “help dispel the myth that the indigenous peoples of Russia are playing in the special operation almost the decisive role and as a result are guilty of the majority of military crimes.”

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