At least 47,000 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. A data investigation by Mediazona and Meduza
At least 47,000 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. A data investigation by Mediazona and Meduza
10 July 2023, 8:00

Art: Maria Tolstova / Mediazona

Nobody, save for those in power, has precise data on the losses of the Russian army during the invasion of Ukraine. Given Vladimir Putin’s extensive track record of side-stepping any questions of import, it’s unlikely that the Kremlin will disclose this information any time soon.

Mediazona, in collaboration with Meduza and Dmitry Kobak, a researcher of excess mortality and machine learning lecturer at the University of Tübingen, has developed a method to estimate Russian wartime casualties, relying solely on publicly accessible records from the National Probate Registry and data from the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat).

By our calculations, as of late May 2023, roughly 47,000 Russian men under the age of 50 have died in the war. To be absolutely precise, we can assert with a 95% probability that the true number of casualties falls between 40,000 and 55,000. This estimate does not take into account the losses of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR).

Furthermore, we managed to estimate the number of wounded, albeit with much less precision. In this piece, we will elaborate on the data we used, the rationale leading to our conclusions, and the basis of our confidence in these findings.

Key findings and methodology

— Russia maintains a publicly accessible probate registry. This registry is used when property that requires official registration—such as apartments, cars, or parcels of land—is inherited. Not every deceased individual in Russia appears in this registry, as not everyone leaves behind inheritable assets.

— In 2022 and 2023, the number of probate cases involving men, particularly younger ones, sharply increased. If we know how often deaths of people in a certain age group trigger probate cases, we can estimate the excess male mortality—that is, the actual number of those killed in the war.

— Our calculations suggest that approximately 25,000 men under the age of 50 (the maximum age limit for our method) died in 2022. By May 27, 2023, this number had risen to about 47,000. To be absolutely precise, we can assert with a 95% probability that the true number of casualties falls between 40,000 and 55,000 (more details about the credible interval are below).

— The validity of our methodology is supported by official mortality data from the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat). According to their records, the excess mortality of men under 50 in 2022 was 24,000 (no more recent data is available yet), which is only 4% off from our estimate based on probate cases.

— Our knowledge about further losses of the Russian army is considerably less comprehensive. When considering the severely wounded who were discharged from service due to their injuries, the total number of irrecoverable losses could be around 125,000.

— This figure partially includes those reported as missing in action but does not account for Russians held as prisoners of war, or Ukrainian citizens who fought and died for the self-proclaimed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR).

The Russian state instigated an aggressive war and now conceals its mounting cost from its own citizens. Military casualty data is classified, with those daring to report on the number of fallen soldiers are prosecuted for spreading “fake news” about the army.

The last time the Ministry of Defence disclosed any casualty figures was in September 2022, when Sergei Shoygu announced that a total of 5,937 soldiers were killed in action. This figure is in stark dissonance with reality, as by that juncture, our own list of names, compiled through publicly available data, already surpassed the official count.

In any military conflict, each side is predisposed towards exaggerating the losses of the enemy whilst downplaying its own. Therefore, accepting the Russian army casualty estimates, as offered by Ukrainian officials and Western media citing intelligence sources, proves problematic due to the inherent challenge of verification.

Mediazona, BBC News Russian, and a team of volunteers have have been meticulously maintaining our own list of fallen soldiers since May 2022. We gather data from social networks, local press reports, photographs of cemeteries and memorials. As of June 30, 2023, the count tallies at 26,800 names—and we know each individual name.

Clearly, these figures do not account for all losses—many deaths remain unpublicised. This was repeatedly confirmed by our volunteer teams visiting cemeteries, discovering new casualties not mentioned in obituaries, news reports, or even on social media. Furthermore, in early summer 2023, following our persistent updates of the casualty count, the Ministry of Defence requested regional Russian authorities to limit the publication of casualty data.

As we continued with this project, we utilised various sources, including the Federal Notary Chamber’s National Probate Registry. This is a public database, maintained and populated by notaries, recording information on inheritances that require state registration—such as cars, apartments, and parcels of land.

To locate a record in the registry, one needs to know the person’s full name. Usually, we didn’t use the register to search for new casualties, but rather to supplement and refine the existing data. A registry entry serves as unequivocal confirmation of a person’s death, offering precise details about their age and exact date of passing.

Now, in collaboration with our colleagues at Meduza, we have found a way to utilise this register to estimate the actual number of casualties: approximately 47,000 men under the age of 50 by the end of May 2023.

How the National Probate Registry helps uncover war casualties

The National Probate Registry (РНД, or RND in Russian) was launched on July 1, 2014. Public access to probate case data was made available in 2018.

We gained access to 11 million entries of probate cases opened between July 2014 and May 27, 2023. While this does not cover the entire registry, this is not necessary for our analysis: such a vast sample size makes it representative enough.

How are the probate registry and our data set structured

The registry is designed in such a way that closed cases, where the inheritance has already been distributed, are not removed. Usually, only one case is created for each deceased individual, something that the notary checks when entering a new record. If we encountered duplicates in the database, we only used the earliest record.

90% of probate cases are opened within six months of the date of death. This is the standard period as prescribed by the Civil Code, a delay we factor into our calculations.

In addition to the full name of the deceased, the registry also includes data on their date of birth and death, the date the death was officially registered, the date the probate case was initiated, as well as other details. However, the register does not contain any information regarding the cause of death.

We compared the number of opened probate cases in our sample with the complete mortality data for pre-war years in Russia. On average, probate cases are opened for 30–70% of deceased individuals. This proportion increases with age, as over a lifetime, people gradually accumulate assets that may be claimed by heirs.

The substantial number of probate cases opened for minors can be attributed to the common practice in Russia of registering property in the names of children.

The main premise of our research is that records in the Probate Registry can be used to ascertain the overall mortality level. That is, we need to calculate the ratio between the number of entries we found in the registry and the number of deaths during the same period within the same age group.

By determining this ratio, we can learn about the excess mortality of Russian men in 2022 and 2023. When calculating it, we needed to consider not only the age of the deceased (as we have already established: the older a person is, the more inheritable assets they possess), but also other factors—for instance, social status.

Our calculations reveal that the deaths of prisoners, who constitute the largest group of war casualties, lead to three times fewer probate cases being opened compared to military personnel. At the same time, military personnel tend to leave assets to pass on slightly more often than their peers not associated with the army: we assess that it can be primarily attributed to military mortgages. We take all this into account.

The following spoilers outline our methodology, first in a simplified manner and then in more detail:

Our method (simplified explanation)

Let's consider a hypothetical scenario where, prior to the war, 1,000 men in one specific age group were passing away each month in Russia. During that same month, the National Probate Registry recorded 500 opened cases for deceased men in the same age group. This indicates that one probate case corresponds to two actual deaths within that age group.

After the beginning of the invasion, the number of opened probate cases for men in the same age group increased to 800 per month, a difference of 300 cases. Given that one probate case represents two deaths, this increase accounts for an additional 600 excess deaths.

This is a simplified overview of our methodology. We also calculate the expected number of probate cases for each age group, considering factors such as female mortality (unaffected by the war) and the social status of the deceased, among other considerations. To estimate the overall military mortality, we also cross-reference our list of killed soldiers with the probate cases.

You can find a more thorough summary of our methodology below.

Our method (detailed explanation)

Step 1: We calculate the total weekly number of probate cases in the National Probate Registry for different sex-age cohorts. While we understand that not all probate cases are initiated immediately, we account for the distribution of delays over time based on data from previous years.

Step 2: Based on long-term trends, we calculate the excess male probate cases by subtracting the expected number of cases for each week of the year. The expected number is proportional to the number of female cases in the same age group. Accounting for females helps us effectively exclude external causes of mortality, such as COVID-19.

Step 3: We convert the number of excess probate cases into the number of deaths using specific coefficients. These coefficients allow us to determine how many deaths, on average, are associated with one probate case. We can calculate these coefficients by searching for fallen soldiers’ names from our casualty count in the registry (for those who died more than six months ago). For example, we know that only 60% (58.1±5.6%) of soldiers aged 20 to 24 who died at the start of the war had an probate case opened within the designated six-month period. We can assume that a similar proportion will be maintained for other soldiers of the same age in the future.

Step 4: We adjust for changes in the composition of fighting forces over time, primarily to account for the contribution of prisoners to overall mortality. Prisoners generally have less property, and as we discovered, probate cases are opened for them approximately three times less frequently than for regular military personnel.

The proportions of different groups, such as prisoners, mobilized individuals, volunteers, etc., varied in different weeks and age cohorts. We account for these changes using additional coefficients. We calculated the proportions of these groups based on a database of deceased individuals compiled from open sources. The method for accounting for differences in the likelihood of being included in the Probate Registry was borrowed from medical researchers who employ a “case-control” study design.

For each deceased prisoner in our list (the “case”), we tried to match a military personnel of the same age, from the same region, and with the same date of death (the “control”). This approach allows us to exclude the influence of all parameters except for the one we are interested in, namely social status.

We then compared the frequency of inclusion in the Probate Registry between these groups and determined the extent to which the conversion coefficient for prisoners should differ from the coefficient for military personnel.

Step 5: We calculate the number of deaths separately for each age cohort and then add them up to get the total number.

Sample: young men aged 20 to 24

Here is h0w we applied our method on real data about probate cases for men aged 20 to 24. We chose this group because the impact of the war on them is particularly significant—young people rarely die in peacetime.

Before the full-scale invasion, between 2014 and 2021, this group saw an average of 11±4 probate cases opened for women and 32.8±9.4 cases for men across Russia in a single week. Male mortality in this group has always been higher—this is known from demographic data.

In the early weeks of the war, the number of probate cases sharply increased. From February 28 to March 6 (the first calendar week after the start of the war), 117 men in this group died, and probate cases were subsequently opened for them. This is almost four times higher than the trend of previous years.

Meanwhile, in the same week, we found only 16 cases for women in our sample—indicating a significant shift in the ratio of cases between men and women.

Taking into account long-term trends, seasonal fluctuations, and the number of cases for women who died that week, in peacetime, we would only expect about 33.8 probate cases for men. This means that in one week, we get over 80 excess probate cases for young men of the appropriate age.

We know that after the death of military personnel of this age, probate cases are ultimately opened in approximately 60% of cases. Therefore, the number of excess cases should be multiplied by a coefficient of 1.73. As a result, we get an excess mortality for men aged 20–24 in that week of 155 individuals.

Since we’re talking about the very first days of the war, no adjustment is needed to account for the proportion of prisoners—there were none in the Russian forces at that time.

In the same way (but with an adjustment for prisoners from late summer 2022), we calculated the total excess mortality for all age groups of men from 15 to 49 years old.

By the end of 2022, we see approximately 25,000 excess male deaths, and by May 27, 2023 (the latest date for which we have data), there are 47,000 excess deaths.

Here's how the excess mortality calculated from the probate registry correlates with the obituaries we found during the same period. Please note the delay between the actual death and our identification and processing of the related reports.

Rosstat data confirms our findings

The method of calculating mortality based on the probate registry may seem overly complex or unreliable—but there’s a way to verify the findings using official data.

The main source of mortality data in Russia is Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) which receives and aggregates information from civil registry offices (ЗАГС, ZAGS). Over the wartime period, Rosstat has been publishing updates on overall mortality every month. The data can be used, for example, to calculate excess mortality during the pandemic. However, we can’t use it in our count, as Rosstat does not break the data down by sex and age, and military losses become “invisible”.

We sent an information request to Rosstat and in June 2023 received information on the total number of deaths for each year, including 2022, broken down by sex and five-year age groups.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19, it is impossible to calculate excess mortality by comparing 2022 with 2021: 2021 was the peak of the pandemic in Russia. By the beginning of 2022, it had not yet ended, and some of the increased mortality that year may also be related to the coronavirus.

To address this, just like when analysing the probate registry, we calculated the ratio of male deaths to female deaths.

Calculating excess mortality based on Rosstat data

Let’s take the same age group, men from 20 to 24 years old.

Pre-pandemic, the ratio of male to female mortality in this age group was about 3.2 (male mortality in Russia is traditionally higher than female), and it was gradually decreasing over time.

If it had continued to decrease, the ratio should have been 2.8 in 2022. Instead, it jumped sharply to 4.8: in this age group in 2022, 7,591 young men and 1,589 young women died.

To calculate excess mortality, you need to subtract female mortality from male mortality, multiplied by the forecasted “peacetime” (2.8) coefficient: 7,591–1,589×2.8. In this age group, about 3,100 deaths turn out to be excess.

The chart below clearly shows an abnormal surge in the ratio of male to female deaths in all age groups from 15–19 to 45–49. There is no such anomaly in older groups, with the ratio for 2022 simply returning to the pre-COVID level.

Calculations based on Rosstat data for 2022 (no later records available yet) give us 24,000 excess deaths among all men in the 15–49 age group. This almost exactly equal to our probate registry estimate (25,000). Rosstat yields a slightly higher estimate in younger age groups, and the National Probate Registry does so in older ones.

This means that the method based on interpreting the data from the registry allows us to correctly estimate excess male mortality. And if it gives fairly accurate results for 2022, it can be used for 2023, which is not yet covered by Rosstat.

So, why do we need two methods?

Both approaches were excercised independently of each other. While Meduza and Mediazona examined probate registry data, Dmitry Kobak looked into the Rosstat data set.

When we started our probate registry count, we were not sure whether Rosstat would even provide data on mortality broken down by sex and age due to the secrecy of losses.

Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, Rosstat collects direct information about mortality, complex adjustments and coefficients are not required. However, the data set limits our ability to look into specific time periods and ends in 2022.

Data on probate cases require a complex calculation to translate into mortality. However, they allow us to see the number of casualties by weeks and even by days, not only for 2022 but also up to the most recent weeks.

Comparing both methods of calculating excess mortality (Rosstat and the National Probate Registry) with our casualty count shows how much of the real losses we can see in open sources.

By the end of 2022, Mediazona, BBC Russian, and volunteers found the names of 14,119 casualties—that is, about 58% of the 24,000–25,000 excess deaths.

This proportion depends heavily on age: for example, in the 20–24 age group, the count from open sources covers almost all the casualties, while in the 35–39 age group, it falls below 50%.

Therefore, if we try to multiply our count number by some coefficient to figure out the true number of losses, we have take the age into account.

Casualties are not just the deceased. Here’s what is known about the missing

Far from all the deceased make it into the general mortality statistics. If a soldier’s body is left on the battlefield, they will be considered missing in action—until the body is retrieved or exchanged, or until they are legally declared dead. Until that moment, their death will not be registered by either the civil registry office or the probate registry.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly stated that they have “tens of thousands of bodies” of Russian soldiers that no one wants to retrieve—however, there is no independent confirmation of this.

In Russia, no open sources exist that would allow even a rough estimate of the number of people missing in the war. In Ukraine, for example, there is a registry of the missing, and in June 2023, it listed 23,000 people; most of them are military personnel.

The military themselves know the full data on the missing but this is not published. Nevertheless, some commanders’ reports with data on the missing in action have still made it into the public domain.

The most extensive set of such data is the “trophy” paperwork of the 1st Guards Tank Army (1TA), published by the Main Intelligence Directorate (ГУР, HUR) of Ukraine in May 2022. The intelligence officers posted a scan of a document compiled by Russian military listing the losses of the 1TA in the first weeks of the war (until March 15), including the wounded, missing in action, and those who surrendered.

Why we believe these documents to be authentic

A few days after the publication of the “trophy” documents, Mediazona confirmed the death of 34 out of the 61 men mentioned by name. The names, surnames, places of service, and dates of death (up to March 15) fully matched the list. In addition, we randomly checked several soldiers against leaks from state databases: their names and places of service also matched.

Over the past year, 47 records have appeared in the probate registry for the military from the 1TA list. Of these, 43 were created after the HUR statement. This means that Ukrainian intelligence could not have compiled the document from open sources or made up its content. Therefore, we consider the 1TA loss list to be authentic.

The list counts 61 people as deceased and 44 as missing in action. One soldier from the list of the missing turned out to be alive—he was wounded and taken prisoner.

In the probate registry, we found half from the list of the deceased and a quarter from the list of the missing. Assuming that all the missing, except one, are actually dead, it means that Russia has not received about half of the bodies—and the civilian mortality statistics still know nothing about them.

Such an estimate cannot be extended to other units, let alone the entire front. The number of missing grows unevenly, and the rates change depending on the nature of the battles. In the spring of 2022, the 1TA was almost surrounded near Sumy and was forced to retreat—this is probably the reason why many bodies were left on the battlefield.

For the missing from the 1st Tank Army list who also appear in the probate registry, there is a huge delay between the actual time of death and the time of its registration. This suggests that their bodies were received during a later exchange with Ukraine.

Such delays occur for “peacetime” deceased—people go missing all the time. But in 2022, a surge of such cases was found in the registry.

We studied the frequency of such delays in the group of deceased men under 50 before the war and after its start (as usual, comparing data on them with the same age group of deceased women). It turned out that in 2022, with a delay of more than 128 days, 3,000 more deaths were registered than should have been according to the pre-war trends and compared to the cases for deceased women of the same age. For example, with a delay of more than 80 days, 10,000 more young men were registered as deceased than in peacetime.

Obviously, this is connected to the war—but it is far from certain that all these deceased were once missing in action. Delays in registration can also occur when identifying bodies.

The numbers above cannot be considered our estimate for the missing as it is impossible to calculate it this way. Our main conclusion is that some part of the missing, whose bodies are subsequently evacuated or exchanged, is still taken into account by our count.

In April 2023, the State Duma passed a law simplifying and speeding up the legal process of recognition of a missing serviceman as dead. So far, there are no signs of the application of these amendments: courts records do not show any increase in the number of such cases either in 2022 or in 2023.

What we know about the number of wounded?

Knowing the number of soldiers killed in war, one can estimate the number of wounded. It is most reliable to calculate wounded-to-killed ratio for conflicts that have already ended, provided that the loss data is accurate. For ongoing hostilities, it can only be estimated approximately, and there are several methods for this.

Method 1. Historical data

The most common estimates of the ratio of wounded to killed for industrial and post-industrial wars are “3 to 1” (or 3.5 to 1), that is, three wounded for every single killed. This average ratio was derived from an analysis of human losses during the Second World War and other wars of the 20th century.

What other data is there about past wars and conflicts?

“3 to 1” is the averaged ratio, and it varies for different wars, armies, and even specific battles.

For example, during the Ardennes Offensive in the Second World War, the ratio of wounded to killed in the British army approached “4 to 1”, and in the Soviet army during the Battle of Kursk to “2.2 to 1”.

In armed conflicts in the second half of the 20th century, the ratio of wounded to killed increased. For every US Marine killed in Vietnam, there were about four wounded; for every killed soldier of the Israeli IDF during the 1982 Lebanon War the number of wounded was 4.5.

The highest indicator among major conflicts, about 10 wounded US soldiers for every one killed, falls on the 20-year period of the US war in Afghanistan. However, this conflict is difficult to compare with major wars: most of the time, American forces opposed not a full-fledged army with heavy weapons and artillery, but disparate Taliban squads with infantry weapons.

The more recent the conflict, the higher the number of wounded and fewer the number of killed. Researchers explain: developments in the battlefield medicine, enhanced evacuation protocols, and improved individual protection made wars “less deadly”. Servicemen receive fewer fatal injuries, and medics are able to save more lives.

What we know about medicine in the Russian army

Much has been written by both Russian and Ukrainian bloggers who have reviewed trophy samples about the poor contents of individual first aid kits in the Russian army.

The standard kit, in addition to a set of medicines, includes an Esmarch bandage, simple bandages, and a haemostatic sponge. For comparison, the first aid kit of a Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier includes more modern tourniquets, a compression bandage, an occlusive dressing, an airway tube, scissors for cutting clothes, and other items.

Of course, not all Russian servicemen carry standard first aid kits: necessary first aid items can be bought at own expense or received from volunteers who crowdfund money for the army. However, the general lack of first aid equipment affects the level of medical training of the soldiers.

According to Artem Katulin, the head of the tactical medicine training centre of the Kalashnikov Concern, almost a third of all limb amputations of Russian military in the invasion of Ukraine occurred due to incorrect tourniquet application.

Christopher A. Lawrence, military analyst and executive director and president of the Dupuy Institute critisises the application of the “3 to 1” estimate to the Russo-Ukrainian war. Based on reports from the authorities of the self-proclaimed DPR and the statement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the daily losses of the AFU, he assumes that the number of wounded on both sides should be higher—at least “4 to 1” or “5 to 1” in the case of Ukraine.

Method 2. Studying the losses of specific units

In the aforementioned list of losses of the 1st Tank Army, which was published by the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, 204 wounded and 60 killed are mentioned. This means that the ratio of wounded to killed is approximately 3.4 to 1.

It must be noted that there are dead among the 43 people who are listed as “missing in action”—and at the same time, some of those taken prisoner (there are 96 in total) could have been wounded in battle. In addition, the 1st Tank Army fought in conditions where evacuation and assistance to the wounded were difficult, i.e., the ratio should be lower than “usual”.

We also studied personnel documents of the 205th Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade. According to our calculations, from June 1 to September 20, 2022, the approximate losses of the brigade were 14 killed and 56 wounded; their ratio is 4 to 1.

What are these documents, why are they real, and how did we count?

The personnel data of the 205th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade was sent to Mediazona’s anonymous Telegram bot in January 2023. It is an .xlsx table containing personal data of about 3,300 military and civilian personnel. Another approximately 1,400 civilian and military positions are marked as vacant. Judging by the dates in the document, the version we received is relevant as of June 1, 2022.

Mediazona achecked a random sample of records from this file against leaks from Russian state databases; all data fully matched. In addition, we found the names of all personnel from the 205th Brigade that were already in our casualty list. Thus, the table can be considered authentic.

The list includes many records of wounded, but there is no information about the dead—their names were promptly erased and positions marked as vacant.

However, there was anothere leak about the 205th Brigade. Information about the number of wounded as of September 20, 2022, was published by the anonymous Telegram channel “Dosye Shpiona” (“Spy’s Dossier”), which is regularly quoted by Ukrainian media. The table is similar to the one shared with Mediazona; the names also match.

According to the more recent table, by September the brigade had suffered a total of 230 wounded, or 56 more men since June 1. The number of killed in action during the same period was available in the Probate Registry. 9 people, whose names we know thanks to the list of personnel, died in the period between June 1 and September 20, which should correspond to 14 total deaths (read above about our method).

Method 3. Counting the severely wounded by pay data

To understand the overall situation, it’s crucial to not only consider the ratio of wounded to killed, but also the consequences of injuries.

According to a research paper published in The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, over 50% of all wounded American servicemen in Afghanistan and Iraq returned to duty within 72 hours. Overall, based on injury statistics during various wars, about 75% of the wounded return to duty within 20 days.

There is also a group of severely wounded who leave service due to their injuries. In the context of war, this group is particularly important as it, along with the killed and missing, affects the army potential.

We can roughly estimate the number of severely wounded who left service due to injuries judging by the sum of compensations to the military from the state budget. This estimate is possible because we know the number of the dead.

There are several types of compensations to the families of the deceased, as well as to the wounded in Russia. Our focus is on payments established by No. 306-FZ law. This is not the same as the one-time payments of 5 and 3 million rubles introduced by Vladimir Putin’s decree after the start of the war: they do not specifically highlight severe injuries, plus the data is classified.

The 2011 law specifically mentions the deceased and those discharged from service due to injury. The amounts of payments under it are updated every year; in 2022, they amounted to 4,452,696 rubles for the family of the deceased and 2,968,464 rubles for the wounded.

Money is transferred to the region of the military unit where the deceased served. Until August 2022, regional branches of the Treasury published monthly reports on Budget Execution and Cash Management—then they stopped, presumably after “Novaya Gazeta Europe” attempted to estimate the scale of losses using these numbers. However, monthly data from March to the end of July is still available.

Sergei Krivenko, director of the Citizen.Army.Law human rights group, told Mediazona and Meduza that it takes at least a month to pay compensation to the families of the deceased, and at least two months for those discharged from the army due to injuries.

However, data from the treasury website indicates that some families of the deceased and wounded received payments as early as March, suggesting that certain compensations were issued without delay. Notably, in the first month of the war—a period of significant losses for the Russian army—a comparatively modest sum of 12.2 billion rubles was disbursed for compensation. This figure rose to 23.1 billion in April.

From the start of the war until July, a total of 85.6 billion rubles was disbursed. In the same timeframe, as per the National Probate Registry, approximately 9,000 men died in the war. Their families could have received around 40 billion rubles in compensation. This implies that the remaining 45.6 billion rubles would have been allocated to the wounded, with each receiving about 2,968,464 rubles.

This method allows us to estimate the number of severely wounded in that timeframe to be around 15.2 thousand, yielding a ratio of approximately 1.7 wounded to every 1 killed.

Is such a ratio plausible?

The UK Ministry of Defence has reported that during the war in Afghanistan, 616 British servicemen sustained serious to very serious injuries, while 457 lost their lives. This yields a ratio of 1.35 to 1. In total, 2029 servicemen suffered combat injuries of varying degrees, with serious injuries accounting for about a third of all cases.

However, we lack precise data on the proportion of the wounded and bereaved families who had received their compensation by July’s end. Therefore, any ratio, including the 1.7 to 1 figure, should be approached with caution.

By adding the estimated number of severely wounded (calculated using this ratio) to the number of fatalities (47,000), we arrive at approximately 125,000 individuals in irrecoverable losses.

A joint team of reporters and editors from Mediazona and Meduza worked on this piece. Due to Russia’s military censorship laws, some authors are not willing to reveal their names.

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