The vast majority of Russian society perceives the death of soldiers coming from remote and poor regions of the country as something normal.
© Getty Images
On Russian state television on those killed in the war with Ukrainevery rarely mentioned. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation does not talk about losses for more than three months. And the lists of the dead in a neighboring country, which published local sites, were declared a state secret.
But the horrors of war still seep through social media, writes the New York Times. Ukraine has been posting photos of dead enemies through Telegram channels in the hope of fueling dissatisfaction with the war in Russia. Photos of destroyed Russian positions, as on the coast of the Seversky Donets River, where at least 400 Russian soldiers died while trying to cross it, allude to the scale of the violence that costs the lives of a very large number of young men.
“You stand, your tears do not even flow anymore. The body just ran out of water,” Oleksandr Kononov, whose brother died as the Russian army tried to occupy Ukraine’s Mariupol, told the New York Times.
He recalls dozens of black body bags he saw right on the floor of a warehouse converted into a military morgue. Many relatives of Russian soldiers do not know for weeks or even months where their sons, husbands and brothers are. They are alive or already dead. Soldiers' lawyers say Russia's military bureaucracy was not prepared for so many casualties in the war against Ukraine. On March 25, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported the death of 1351 soldiers. And this was the last time such information appeared. Western officials say the number of Russians killed in Ukraine is at least 10 times higher.
The families of some of the sailors who died aboard the Moskva cruiser still cannot find out the truth. Even though it's been two months. More than 500 sailors served on board the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. The father of one of them, Dmitry Shkrebets, posted a desperate message on Telegram addressed directly to Vladimir Putin.
“Why are you pretending nothing happened? We will all die, but not all will become martyrs. Some will have to answer for blood!,” he wrote.
His message was a rare public expression of anger and frustration with the government on the part of a military family. But the deaths “do not make a big impression” on Russian society as a whole, Sergei Krivenko, whose human rights group provides legal support to Russian soldiers, told the publication. In most cases, the soldiers who signed the contract die in the war against Ukraine. And they mostly come from poor regions of Russia.
“Everyone perceives death as something normal, although it’s hard to use this word here,” Krivenko said.