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ISW: Russia conceals statistics on social payments to avoid calculating their losses in war

Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 04:28
ISW: Russia conceals statistics on social payments to avoid calculating their losses in war
Screenshot: Verstka

The Russian government has hidden data on recipients of social support services in 2022 to hide the losses Russian troops suffered in the first year of the war in Ukraine.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: The Russian opposition publication Verstka conducted an investigation into the Unified State Information System of Social Protection of the Russian Federation and reported on 4 March that the social security agency had concealed data on recipients of social benefits in 2022.


This may also be related to the inability of the Russian government to pay the promised social assistance to vulnerable groups.

Verstka noted that some of the hidden data contain information that could reveal the scale of losses in Ukraine, such as figures on "widows of servicemen killed during military service" and "citizens who were wounded, concussed, injured or maimed during military service ".

The Institute for the Study of War suggests that the statistics were concealed to prevent social discontent surrounding reports of Russian casualties in Ukraine.

This information was shared only in 2023 and 2024 when the Kremlin's line on Russian losses was somewhat consolidated to eliminate social backlash.

The Kremlin may have also withheld social services data for 2022 to hide its problems in providing promised social support measures to various individuals, especially those affected by the first year of the war.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 4 March:

  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev promoted Russia’s extensive territorial objectives that expand deep into Ukraine’s territory.
  • The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that unknown actors detonated explosives and severely damaged a Russian railway bridge over the Chapaevka River near Chapaevsk, Samara Oblast, on 4 March.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly awarded a Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) and Spetsnaz-affiliated Russian milblogger, likely as part of the Kremlin’s longstanding efforts to co-opt milbloggers and make them loyal to the Kremlin.
  • The Russian government reportedly hid data on recipients of social support services in 2022, likely to obfuscate casualties suffered in the first year of the war in Ukraine or to cover up the government’s inability to pay promised social support to vulnerable populations.
  • The Kremlin is continuing efforts to ensure high voter turnout in the upcoming presidential election to present the guise of legitimacy and widespread popular support among Russian President Vladimir Putin’s domestic electorate.
  • Russian authorities continue to exploit the leaked recording of German military officers discussing the theoretical provision of Taurus missiles to Ukraine to deter Western military aid provisions to Ukraine.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City amid continued positional engagements along the entire frontline.
  • A Russian news aggregator claimed on 4 March that Russian forces replaced Storm-Z convict units with Storm-V units, a mechanism for distributing convicts into the regular Russian military as opposed to keeping them siloed within convict-only units, as was the case with Storm-Z formations.

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