Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Rising Russian Combat Deaths in Ukraine Unlikely to Provoke Mass Protests Anytime Soon, Mokhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 18 – Sergey Mokhov, an HSE anthropologist who specializes on death and dying in Russia, says that despite the expectations of many, rising Russian combat deaths in Ukraine are unlikely to provoke mass protests in the country anytime soon given both the nature of Russian culture regarding deaths and the threat of repression by the Kremlin.

            The author of Death and Funeral Practices in Russia (London, 2022) says that Russians generally treat death as a private matter rather than something to be publicly shared and therefore rising death tolls won’t spark protests (

            The atomization of Russian society under the impact of Putin’s rule further contributes to this lack of a direct connection between deaths and protests, Mokhov says, adding that even in less atomized countries, combat deaths don’t immediately or even at all lead to protest movements.

            On the one hand, combat deaths often lead the people in the countries at war may lead others there to become even more supportive of the war effort. And on the other, even in countries where many people are opposed to a particular war nonetheless take a long time to connect the dots and go into the streets.

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