War casualties are hard to talk about and casualty data is easy to manipulate. In the light of the recent missile attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the building of a vocational school in Makeyevka, where the Russian military was stationed, this issue becomes especially acute.
During the Second World War, the USSR lost, according to various sources, from 7.5 to 60 million people. How could it happen that the data of different sources differ so much?
After the end of the Second World War, Joseph Stalin called the loss figure of 7.5 million people killed. And he told the truth. That’s right, 7.5 million is the so-called. “officially dead”. These are the military personnel whose death was officially confirmed, whose families received funerals and claimed pensions for the loss of a breadwinner.
This number does not include:
- Irretrievable losses, crippled and wounded to the point of impossibility to carry out military service
- Civilian casualties
Later, Nikita Khrushchev called the number of losses at 20 million using census data. That’s right, the population decline in the USSR during the Second World War amounted to those same 20 million people.
This number included the same 7.5 million “officially” dead, plus those who were missing from the next census, civilians killed and missing.
Then, already under Gorbachev in the 90s, after access to military archives was opened, figures were given of 30 and 40 million losses that the USSR suffered during the Second World War.
This number included those 7.5 million dead whose death was confirmed, 20 million of those who were missing from the census, missing and irretrievable losses, i.е. cripples and disabled people who could not return to serve in the army.
Having recalculated the decline in the population in the 2000s, statistics called a figure of 60 million losses, which included 40 million from the previous count, their unborn children and the unborn children of their children.
And no one is lying about it. All numbers are correct.
Makeevka. Shelling of vocational schools
On the night of December 31 to January 1, the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a missile attack on the building of a vocational school in Makeevka, Donetsk region, where Russian military personnel were stationed. As a result of the impact, the vocational school building was completely destroyed. According to Russian publics, in addition to the personnel, there were ammunition in the building that detonated after being hit by Ukrainian missiles.
Shortly after the incident, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced 63 dead as a result of the shelling of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Makeyevka. The death toll later rose to 98.
At the same time, the Ukrainian media, citing the General Staff of the ZSU, reported 400-600 dead Russian soldiers.
In this case, both sides tell the truth about the losses.
Initially, 63 identified bodies were found at the scene of the tragedy. All right. After the start of work on the removal of rubble, another 35 corpses were found.
These bodies have been identified, they have documents, their families will receive compensation. It is extremely unprofitable for the Russian side to name a large number of losses for several reasons.
- фVoice over a large number of losses reduces the morale of the fighters
- A large number of losses causes distrust of the authorities among the population
- The more identified bodies, the more compensation will have to be paid.
Every year, search teams of volunteers in Russia find the bodies of dead Soviet soldiers who fell in World War II. The reason why no one collected the bodies on the battlefield is banal – in most cases there was no one to do this and the military leadership of the USSR turned a blind eye to this. Moreover, the families of the missing, and that is how the unburied soldiers were listed, were not supposed to accrue pensions and compensations.
However, the Ukrainian side claims that between 400 and 600 people died as a result of the shelling of the vocational school building in Makiivka. And these data are also correct.
If, according to intelligence data, there was a Combat Tactical Group in full force with weapons and ammunition in the vocational school building, and the building was destroyed, the Ukrainian media have the right to talk about 400-600 dead.
At this time, insiders report that the data of various departments of Russia from the FSB to the Ministry of Health differ greatly. According to the FSB, as a result of the missile attack, among the 312 dead and missing, there are 312 people and 157 servicemen were injured.
And there is no contradiction here, just one side understates its own losses, while the other increases the losses of the enemy.
But how to find out how many Russian servicemen really died in Makeikha and what total losses the Russian army suffered after the Ukrainian missile attack?
Probably the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation owns this data. They should publicly state how many soldiers were killed, how many were wounded and how many were missing.
About the losses of the Russian army
The Ukrainian side claims that Russia lost more than 100,000 people in the war (as of January 2023). Probably, these data should be taken into account as sunk losses, since it is not possible to verify them at the moment. We will most likely see the most complete picture only after the end of the war, when a population census will be held in Russia.