World War II casualties of the Soviet Union

World War II casualties of the Soviet Union from all related causes numbered more than 20,000,000, both civilian and military, although the exact figures are disputed. The number 20 million was considered official during the Soviet era. The Russian government puts the Soviet war dead at 26.6 million based on a 1993 study by the Russian Academy of Sciences. this includes 8,668,400 military deaths as calculated by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The figures published by Russian Ministry of Defense have been accepted by most historians outside Russia (see table below Western scholars). However, the official figure of 8.7 million military deaths has been disputed by some Russian historians who believe that the number of dead and missing POWs is not correct and new research is necessary to determine actual losses. Officials at the Russian Central Defense Ministry Archive (CDMA) maintain that their database lists the names of roughly 14 million dead and missing service personnel. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in 2009 that "data about our losses haven't been revealed yet..We must determine the historical truth." He said that more than 2.4 million people are still officially considered missing in action. Of the 9.5 million buried in mass graves, 6 million are unidentified Some Russian politicians and journalists put the total number of losses in the war, both civilian and military, at over 40 million,.

1993 Russian Ministry of Defense report authored by a group headed by General G. I. Krivosheev detailed military casualties. Their sources were Soviet reports from the field and other archive documents that were secret during the Soviet era, including a secret Soviet General Staff report from 1966–68. Krivosheev's study puts Soviet military dead and missing at 8.7 million and is often cited by historians. In April 2016 the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation issued a statement that put Soviet military war dead at 8.8 million Krivosheev maintains that the figure of 8.668 million is correct because it excludes called up reservists that were never inducted, men who were duplicated as conscripts because they were conscripted again into the Soviet army and Navy during the war as territories were being liberated and non combat related causes. The statistic of 8.668 million military dead includes only the combat related deaths of the forces in the field units of the Army and Navy A1and does not include civilian support forces in rear areas, conscripted reservists killed before being listed on active strength, militia units, and Soviet partisan dead, Krivosheev maintains that they should be included with civilian war losses

The Schedule below summarizes Soviet casualties from 1941–1945.

Krivosheev's analysis shows that 4,559,000 were reported missing (including 3,396,400 per field reports and an additional 1,162,600 estimated based on German documents), out of which 500,000 were missing and presumed dead, 939,700 were re-conscripted during the war as territories were liberated, 1,836,000 returned to the U.S.S.R. after the war, while the balance of 1,283,300 died in German captivity as POWs or did not return to the USSR. Krivoshhev wrote "According to German sources 673,000 died in captivity. Of the remaining 1,110,300, Soviet sources indicate that over half also died captivity". Sources published outside of Russia put total POW dead at 3.0 million. Krivosheev maintains that this figure based on German sources includes civilian personnel that were not included in the reports of the Army and Navy field forces. In a 1999 article Krivosheev noted that after the war 180,000 liberated POWs did not return to the USSR and most likely settled in other countries, Krivosheev did not mention this in the English language translation of his study. According to declassified documents from the Soviet archives 960,039 surviving Soviet military POW were turned over to the Soviet authorities by the Western powers and 865,735 were released by the Soviet forces in territory they occupied.

The June 1945 force strength of 12,840,000 included 11,390,600 on active service; 1,046,000 in hospital; and 403,200 in civilian departments.

Krivosheev's group estimated losses for the early part of the war, because from 1941–1942 no surrounded or defeated divisions reported their casualties. Thus field reports from that period are regarded by historians as unreliable.

This page was last edited on 18 March 2018, at 20:08.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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