Sunday, June 18, 2023

Moscow Closing Another Source for Russian Losses in Ukraine

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 13 – In the course of the expanded Russian invasion of Ukraine since February 2022, the Russian government has only rarely released data on the number of casualties that country’s forces have suffered there. But various independent news services have been able to fill in the blank at least in part by relying on obituaries in local and regional media.

            Now, according to the SibReal news portal, Moscow is taking steps to close off that source of information with the Russian defense ministry demanding that officials in at least one republic, Khakasiya, stop publishing obituaries about those who have died in Ukraine (

            This action will throw a blanket of secrecy over such information, but it will also infuriate the family and friends of those who have died because many of them view the publication of obituaries as an important part of the process of showing respect to those who have given their lives.

            The clampdown on such reports appears to be even more severe than during the Afghan war at the end of Soviet times when Moscow kept such obituaries out of central and republic newspapers but not out of all local papers. Then, however, it was far more difficult for outsiders to gain access to that media. But now the Internet has made these outlets more easily accessible.



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