More Russian Soldiers Have Died Invading Ukraine Than Americans Died in WWI

WWI Russian Sister of Mercy. Source: Klimbim

I’ve seen several people make comparison between current Russian military tactics and WWI. Here’s a new one.

Waves of young under-equipped Russian soldiers were driven to their death in barren battlefields devoid of life or purpose.

…the total number of deaths since February 24, when Russia launched its invasion, [increased] to 116,950. If these figures are accurate, Russia has now lost more troops in Ukraine than the U.S. lost during its involvement in World War I.

Three differences.

One: America in WWI saw a casualty rate of approximately 10%, and many of its dead were not from combat (e.g. disease). Russia at the same time, however, recorded a whopping 1,700,000 dead and a casualty rate closer to 80%. That alone should put any American perspective in different context.

Two: The article goes on to say that Russian propaganda today blames all deaths on the soldiers themselves, or their targets. There’s no discussion allowed in Russia of its leaders failing at invasion, because there is only lies about defending something, anything. That really changes the framing for dying in a war. Ethnic cleansing and genocide of Ukrainians has been couched in bogus language of “defense”, which intends to mobilize every Russian into dying starved and alone in a muddy trench.

Three: Many Russian casualties are from shooting each other to achieve some criminal form of power, avoid accountability, and force direction… within a flaccid masculinity system that runs on graft and corruption. Russian cemeteries quickly are filling up today from a 20th century suicidal grind, by design.

Those three big points make it hard to say the historic American WWI experience or perspective, let alone 100K dead, are going to motivate anyone in Russia to listen. It’s perhaps safe to say instead that Russia is engaged in antiquated/primitive strategies of mass mobilization, leaning on heavy artillery and human waves of frontal assaults to reduce target areas into rubble without any meaningful gains (huge waste, which leads to weakness and then destabilization). That’s the better comparison to WWI.

Update January 25: Estimates for Russian soldiers killed are already much higher, closer to 200K.

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