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 Russian Reaction Blog / MinoritiesTeasers

The USSR played the leading role in the defeat of Nazi Germany, which the majority of Europeans recognized in 1945 even if half a century of Hollywood propaganda successfully displaced it in the public imagination in favor of the USA. But what about within the USSR itself?

Back in January 2015, during his brief nationalist phase after the return of Crimea, Putin declared that Russians played the leading role in the defeat of Nazism and paid the highest sacrifices. That seems like a dream today. Official rhetoric proclaims that “we achieved victory together” played over footage of Ramzan Kadyrov and Tajik workers wearing St. George’s ribbons (in the meantime, Tajikistan has banned the Immortal Regiments march on the grounds that it is un-Islamic).

So who’s right: Putin 2015, or Putin 2017?

I compiled the following two graphs based on the results of the Soviet Census of 1939 and Grigory Krivosheev’s statistics on military deaths by ethnicity in WW2 (table 122).


Predictably, Russians bore the highest number of absolute losses – some two thirds of the 8.7 million total.

Together with the Ukrainians and Belorussians that figure rises to 85%.


Moreover, Russians also bore the highest relative military losses as a percentage of their population, together with the Buryats.

The Ukrainians and Belorussians were somewhat lower, though this is explainable on account of them being occupied for part of the war, and incurring a greater share of civilian deaths as a result. There would have been be a similar dynamic with respect to the Jews, a large percentage of whom unfortunately fell within the Nazi zone of occupation.

I recall reading a history paper (can’t find it at the moment) where it was claimed that the USSR would create ethnic minority units from the Finno-Ugric peoples and intentionally send them to the hottest fronts so as to make them incur heavier casualties and shift the demographic balance in favor of Russins. That is obviously nonsense based on these figures, though that said, they did almost do their fair share.

The Central Asians, especially the Uzbeks and Tajiks, are underrepresented – the latter by a factor of almost three. This is perhaps not that bad a thing, since they had a reputation for technical incompetence; even in the late USSR, conscripts from those regions tended to go into “Class C” rear divisions with simple, obsolete equipment.

Of the major ethnicities, the worst group in terms of its lack of contribution were the restive Muslim provinces of the North Caucasus. Dagestan underdid its fair share by a factor of four, while the Chechens and Ingush as is known pretty much defected to the Germans en masse (hence the deportations).

I didn’t include any figures for the Balts and Moldovans. They were annexed by the USSR after the 1939 Census, so their percentages would be meaningless.

For comparison, the Germans lost approximately 6.1% of their population as military losses in WW2, including: Germany proper: 6.4%; Austria: 3.9%; The German diaspora in Eastern Europe: 7.2%, according to Rüdiger Overmans’s calculations.


Nationality Population (1939) WW2 Mil. Deaths % All Mil. Deaths % Deaths Population
Russians 99,591,520 5,756,000 66.40% 5.78%
Ukrainians 28,111,007 1,377,400 15.89% 4.90%
Belorussians 5,275,393 252,900 2.92% 4.79%
Georgians 2,249,636 79,500 0.92% 3.53%
Azeris 2,275,678 58,400 0.67% 2.57%
Armenians 2,152,860 83,700 0.97% 3.89%
Uzbeks 4,845,140 117,900 1.36% 2.43%
Turkmen 812,404 21,300 0.25% 2.62%
Tajiks 1,229,170 22,900 0.26% 1.86%
Kazakhs 3,100,949 125,500 1.45% 4.05%
Kyrgyz 884,615 26,600 0.31% 3.01%
Karelians 252,716 9,500 0.11% 3.76%
Komi 422,317 11,600 0.13% 2.75%
Bashkirs 843,648 31,700 0.37% 3.76%
Udmurts 606,326 23,200 0.27% 3.83%
Tatars 4,313,488 187,700 2.17% 4.35%
Mari 481,587 20,900 0.24% 4.34%
Mordovians 1,456,330 63,300 0.73% 4.35%
Chuvash 1,369,574 63,300 0.73% 4.62%
Kalmyks 134,402 4,000 0.05% 2.98%
Buryats 224,719 13,000 0.15% 5.79%
Jews 3,028,538 142,500 1.64% 4.71%
Kabardians & Balkars 206,870 3,400 0.04% 1.64%
Chechens & Ingush 500,088 2,300 0.03% 0.46%
Ossetians 354,818 10,700 0.12% 3.02%
Dagestanis 857,499 11,100 0.13% 1.29%
Bulgars 113,494 1,100 0.01% 0.97%
Greeks 286,444 2,400 0.03% 0.84%
Chinese 32,023 400 0.00% 1.25%
Poles 630,097 10,100 0.12% 1.60%
Finns 143,437 1,600 0.02% 1.12%
Others 3,770,306 132,500 1.53% 3.51%
TOTAL 170,557,093 8,668,400 100.00% 5.08%

A few days ago the Russian urban lifestyle magazine Afisha commissioned some big data geeks to visualize the percentage of Muscovite landlords specifying “Russians only” (“Slavs only,” “No Caucasians,” etc.) in their home rental listings.

Here is the resulting map (red is more “xenophobic”):


The range of landlords making ethnic requirements varied from 0% in the center and west of the city to up to a third in the outskirts, especially the east and south. (The district where I come from is around 22%).

What do they tend to have in common?

Here is a map of rental prices in 2013 (red is more expensive):


Here is a map of the percentage of ethnic Russians from 1993-2003 on the basis of local birth records (red is more ethnically Russian):



And finally here is a map of the official candidate Sobyanin’s and the pro-Western liberal opposition candidate Navalny’s share of the vote in the 2013 Moscow city elections (bluer regions strongly favored Sobynian, while greener regions saw Navalny do relatively better):


In other words, a typical limousine liberals vs. Putintariat story.

Although the lack of “Russians only” criteria in the richer, more liberal areas is probably substantially on account of their greater progressivism (even though Navalny is somewhat of an ethnic nationalism himself) the purely economic reasons are probably more important. If you can pay the rental rates in the center, which are twice as high as in the outskirts, chances are you’ll be better behaved regardless of your ethnicity and won’t mess up the place. Landlords in the outskirts however might have greater incentives to play it safe.

Or this happens.


• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Minorities, Moscow, Russia 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.