The sacrifice of young Russians at the front: at least 1,500 of the September conscripts already dead

Of Federico Fubini

The data analysis, counting obituaries and letters from family members looking for the missing, and crossing the numbers of marriages before leaving: the mobilization was wider than announced, and caught above all in the most remote provinces of Russia. 25 thousand victims in the army; at least 1,500 of them are conscripts

Alexey Prostakishin survived six days, not one more. He was 44 years old, had a wife and two children and had been recruited on 29 September in Ust-Karenga, his village in Transbaikalia on the border with Mongolia and China. On October 4 he was already on the front in Donetsk when he became iVladimir Putin’s first conscript who died in the war.

Like him several others among the round-ups at the end of September did not pass October 4th. Andrei Pichuyev, 38 years old, with a wife and two children – a former volunteer in the devastation of Chechnya twenty years ago – was not successful, taken away a few days earlier from a remote village in Buryatia, an Asian republic with a Mongolian culture. was killed that day too Dmitry Sidorov, graduate mechanic, he too country buryato with a baby face at 23 years old. Ed died on October 4th also Alexey Roik, a customs officer 36-year-old from Cita, in the Russian Far East.

Not even a week after the call from the Kremlin they were all already in a body bag. They all came, studiedly, from very far away. An analysis by Mariya Vyushkova, an ethnic Buryat Russianquantum computing expert at the Computational Research Center of theUniversity of Notre Dame in Silicon Valley, shows that the mobilization desired by the Kremlin is wider than officially admitted and is already producing thousands of victims. It also proves that the regime’s dragnet fell on the most remote provinces of the East and the Arctic: those where eventual protests threaten the assets of Moscow less.

The analysis of Mariya Vyushkova’s data reveals how among the conscripts lhe autonomous province of Chukotka (a corner of the far eastern Arctic) already has ten casualties for every 100,000 inhabitants and eastern Magadan Oblast (Siberia) about six: a blood toll dozens of times higher than the Russian average. It is no coincidence that minorities are now starting to react. Lately Andrey Krivoshapkin, leader of the Yakuzi Indigenous Peoples Association which includes the reindeer herders of Chukotka, found the courage to protest: he publicly asked for an objective approach to mobilization because – he said – it is necessary to preserve the genetic heritage of our peoples.

It exists in Russia a clandestine network that keeps track of the fallen every day from the obituaries in the local newspapers, from funeral announcements or posts on Russian social media such as Telegram, VKontakte or Odnoklassniki (Classmates). To date, the network’s volunteers have counted 11,000 Russians who have died in the war since February 24 and 541 among the September conscripts alone. The actual ones are actually many more – calculates Mariya Vyushkova – because some remain officially disappeared and their obituary has never been written. Among the conscripts there must be about 1,500 fallen, in the Russian army at least 25,000: an estimate in line with that of Moscow’s intelligence which, including dead and wounded, calculates Russian military losses at 100,000 men.

It is not difficult to understand that the dead are many more than those mentioned in the media. On December 2, for example, the official television of Buryatia (pro-government) reported that the province’s human rights commissioner had already received 656 letters from families who no longer have news of their relatives at the front. They are all or almost dead soldiers and never recovered. But already the number of those requested was double the 300 Buryat victims estimated up to that moment through the obituary count. It is therefore probable that the real number of dead is three times the number that can be counted.

Some of the conscripts didn’t even manage to get to the front alive. Vladimir Potanin, a 46-year-old recruit from the Old Yekaterinburg region, committed suicide by stabbing at the military base five days after the call. 39-year-old Sergei Fedoseenko from Vladivostock, not far from the North Korean border, mysteriously died in police custody for having rebelled against the recruitment of a few hours earlier. Others, drunk in training centers, were immediately killed by heart attacks or epileptic seizures.

Certainly these conscripts appear to be more than the 300,000 the Russian regime spoke of in September. According to Mediazona, an independent news site, the September mobilization took away around 450,000 men. It is possible to estimate it from the increase in marriages in early autumn, which tripled compared to the seasonal averages especially in remote provinces with a high intensity of recruitment (Amur, Transbaikalia, Jewish Autonomous Region, Buryatia, Kamchatka. Simply, it was providence: thousands of conscripts married the cohabitants, to leave them at least a few more civil rights before risking their lives at the front.

Today Mariya Vyushkova and her clandestine network estimate that 18 mobilized men died for every hundred Russians killed in October, but by November they had already risen to 25 for every hundred. They were forcibly recruited, they are sent to the Donbass furnace, therefore the number of victims among them will rise. Among other things, the names of the men massacred by the year-end missiles in Makiivka have not yet appeared.

Certainly this massacre of people who were never told that Russia was at war – people who didn’t want to go to war – it’s not enough to stop the Kremlin. 1,500 dead recruits are not enough to create a climate of revolt in the Russian Federation. The mobilization will therefore continue. It is enough to warn companies: for months they have preferred to hire women, the elderly or the disabled. But they stopped hiring men, because then the army takes them away.

January 11, 2023 (change January 11, 2023 | 19:38)

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The sacrifice of young Russians at the front: at least 1,500 of the September conscripts already dead

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