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Old Man’s War

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This is what Putin hath wrought:

The most recent data, published on July 5th by Mediazona and Meduza, two independent Russian media outlets, suggest that Russia’s death toll has crossed 100,000, with 106,000-140,000 dead by June 21st. Much of their analysis is based on inheritance records and obituaries on social media and in other outlets. (Their data since February 6th, however, is based on trends, as their access to official records has been disrupted.) Their number is broadly consistent with other recent sources: officials in France recently put the total at 150,000 by May, and BBC Russia reckons that at least 113,000 Russians had died by June.

This in a country that was already suffering a devastating demographic decline. Of note:

The greatest losses have been among those aged between 35 and 39, 27,000 of whom are estimated to have been killed between February 2022 and June 2024. But as a percentage of Russia’s male population, losses of those aged between 45 and 49 have been most severe. The latest estimates suggest that roughly 2% of all Russian men aged between 20 and 50 may have been either killed or severely wounded in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war.

Add to this that Russian economic prosperity has been bought dearly; unlike the United States in 1945, it will be dreadfully difficult to retool Russia’s war economy for either internal consumer or external export purposes. Russia’s share of the international arms export trade has dropped dramatically and will not recover; the South Koreans produce better high level equipment and the Chinese produce cheaper (and better) low tier equipment. Gas exports aren’t coming back, either. A lot of folks are desperate to pretend that this war has helped Russia (and Russia’s admittedly deft management of the financial and economic sanctions thus far have abetted this effort) but in the long run this conflict is devastating for Russia’s long-term global standing. I would hope, but I am not optimistic, that Russians will someday hold Putin and his clique responsible for what is in effect Great Power Suicide.

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