Wednesday, January 24, 2024

North Caucasians Suffering Fewer Combat Losses Now than at Start of the War in Ukraine

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 20 – While the number of combat deaths among soldiers from the North Caucasus has now passed 6,000, according to incomplete data (, the number from there dying each month appears to have fallen.

            The reason, expert opinion surveyed by the Kavkazr portal indicates, is that the composition of the Russian forces is changing. Initially, Moscow relied more heavily on contract professionals rather than draftees in the fighting; and North Caucasians were more ready to sign on in that capacity than people from other parts of Russia (

But as the war in Ukraine has continued, Moscow has been forced to rely increasingly on draftees and the mobilized; and as a result, the share of North Caucasian professionals has dropped – and with that decline has come a decline in the number of combat deaths as well, Kavkazr reports.

That shift may help to explain why the Caucasus has not seen a further expansion of anti-war activism characteristic of Daghestan last year, and at the same time, it may be a reason why Moscow should be worried that Russian regions from which more draftees are taken may become hotspots of protest in the future.

Such concerns could lead the Kremlin to seek to end the fighting sooner than would have been the case if it were in a position to use non-Russians and Russians from poor areas as its primary fighters.

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