Alexey Bessudnov. Ethnic and regional inequalities in the Russian military fatalities in the 2022 war in Ukraine


This paper explores ethnic and regional inequalities in mortality in the Russian army during the 2022 war in Ukraine. The analysis is based on a newly available data set containing the names of about 9,500 Russian servicemen killed in Ukraine from February to November 2022. The data set was collected by a team of volunteers from the social media and other available sources. There are large inequalities in the army mortality rates across Russian regions, with the highest mortality of soldiers originating from poor regions in Siberia and the Russian Far East and the lowest from Moscow and St.Petersburg. Some ethnic minority groups, in particular Buryats and Tuvans, are overrepresented among the fatalities, compared to their population share. Once regional inequalities are taken into account, ethnic gaps in mortality are reduced substantially. It is likely that ethnic fatality gaps are largely driven by socio-economic inequalities: young men in poorer regions see the career in the military as more attractive. The paper places these findings in the context of the previous research on inequalities in US military casualties.