Since the beginning of the war against Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense has acknowledged the death of only 1,351 soldiers. Of these, 20% are officers, the BBC Russian Service reported on April 6.
As of April 5, Russian official sources have published the names of at least 1,083 dead Russian soldiers. Of the established dead, 217 are officers, ranking from junior lieutenant to general.
At the same time, the outlet writes, such a high number of officers in losses does not mean that every fifth Russian who died on the battlefield was an officer.
According to Samuel Crenny-Evans of the British Royal Institute for Defense and Security Studies, Russian military tradition dictates that the bodies of fallen commanders be sent home on a priority basis.
“In past conflicts, the Russian military paid more attention to the evacuation of the bodies of dead officers,” Crenny-Evans explained.
“And less was given to the lower ranks of the military after death. But at the same time, officers really do make up the backbone of the Russian armed forces.”
Currently, the Russian casualty lists feature 10 colonels (including one captain of the first rank), 20 lieutenant colonels, 31 majors and 155 junior officers (ranking from junior lieutenant to captain).
Every day in Russia, more and more new names of the dead emerge, along with photographs from funerals. Most often, the names are announced by the heads of Russian regions or representatives of district administrations, local media, and educational institutions where the deceased previously studied.
The BBC based its analysis only on reports containing specific information about the deceased, including the full name and rank and, if possible, the place of burial.
Also, reports of deaths of people who are not Russian military personnel (that is, those who serve in the units of the so-called “people's republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as mercenaries of the so-called Wagner PMC) were not taken into account.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russian Federation lost about 18,500 soldiers in the war against Ukraine.