Kremlin forbids regions to publish obituaries of military killed in Ukraine

Regions with the greatest losses in the course of military operations in Ukraine have stopped publishing information about the deaths of servicemen following the Kremlin’s demand.

They did so in Tyva, Buryatia, the Vologda Region, Krasnodar Territory and other subjects, writes Verstka citing sources close to the regional authorities. The decision to hide the obituaries was also revealed by a high-ranking parliamentary representative.

“There was a fear that [it] would lead to unrest [in these regions]”, one of the interlocutors explained. Also, according to the Kremlin, the absence of obituaries would prevent journalists from independently counting the number of dead.

Instead of reporting on the deaths of regional residents in war, the Kremlin suggested that governors should publish positive news: about assistance to the families of soldiers and military successes. “It is not difficult to find such news: you bring a cartload of humanitarian aid (TMT) or open a kindergarten for the children of the mobilized – that’s positive news”, said the source.

At the same time, some governors continue to publish reports on the deaths of people from their regions. For example, the head of Sakhalin Vasily Limarenko reported the deaths of two Sakhalin residents on 19 June. According to a source in parliament, the Kremlin’s demand did not apply to all regions. “Or, more precisely, some of them received strict instructions – who have a tense situation or a lot of deaths. The rest were not”, the source said.

According to estimates by the BBC Russian Service and Mediazone, Russia’s confirmed losses in the war against Ukraine have so far amounted to 25,500 people. However, according to the most conservative estimates, Russia could have lost 50,000 people dead, and the irretrievable losses, taking into account those who were put out of action due to wounds, could be about 225,000 people.

It follows from the data of the Defense Ministry that 9,000 people received survivor’s pensions in 2022. Almost all of them are relatives of deceased participants in the war in Ukraine. As noted by “Important Stories,” the real number of the dead is much higher, because the pension statistics include data only of those relatives who were able to pass all the bureaucratic procedures for the registration of the relevant documents. Moreover, not all of the deceased servicemen had dependent relatives.

The last time the Defense Ministry reported about the total number of losses was in September 2022. At that time, the Defense Ministry said that there were 5,937 servicemen killed. After that, the Defense Ministry confirmed the loss of another 162 people.

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