September 13th 2000 · Prague Watchdog · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS

Casualties officially announced since the beginning of the conflict

It is very difficult to really tell the exact number of casualties on either side of the conflict. Not only is a large number of soldiers reported missing, but there is also no unbiased information on the topic as such. The exact numbers are obviously to be found somewhere inbetween the information provided by the two combating parties. Although the counts have been increasingly questioned from different sides, we have tried to trace some of the history of official casualties information. Although incomplete and with little factual value, the numbers below provide a minimum insight in the information war that is a part of any conflict.

Chechen sources:

Announced Chechen fighters killed Chechen fighters wounded Chechen fighters missing Chechen civilians killed Russian soldiers killed Russian soldiers wounded
26.1.2000 400 420   10,000 11,000  
7.3.2000 1,150 1,300   20,000 15,000  
24.5.2000 1,380 1,600 142 35,000 18,000 45,000
3.8.2000 1,464 1,730 174 40-45,000 21,000 50,000

Source: Kavkaz Center

Russian sources:

Announced Russian soldiers killed Russian soldiers wounded Chechen fighters killed
27.9.1999 105 306  
27.10.1999 200 500 2,000
6.12.1999 305 863  
28.12.1999 347 1,040  
29.12.1999 465 1,310  
6.1.2000 500 1,300  
10.1.2000 465 1,583  
12.1.2000 741    
24.1.2000 1,152* 3,246 4-7,000
4.2.2000 1,300 (1,036)** 4,000 (3,181)  
8.2.2000 1,290 3,970 11,000
17.2.2000 1,458   10,000
28.4.2000 2,181 (1,901) 6,388 (5,401)  
18.5.2000 2,284 6,645 13,500
8.6.2000 2,375 (2,079) 6,888 (5,904)  
22.6.2000 2,405 (2,127) 7,005 (6,021)  
3.8.2000 2,585*** 7,505 14,000
24.8.2000 2,640  

Source: RFE, BBC, ITAR-TASS, Interfax, Radio Svoboda, etc.

* The statistical count of the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee, that has proved quite accurate during the first Chechen war, indicates approximately 3,000 killed Russian soldiers to this date. Their counts are normally three to four times the official Russian figures.

** Different numbers indicated by RFE and BBC (in the brackets) who both quote general Valeri Manilov. The Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff is however supposed to have stated ”nearly 1300” and ”nearly 4000” respectively. The difference can be explained by the Russian constant shuffling with numbers – the number indicated in the brackets would then be counted since October – i.e. dead and wounded on the territory of Chechnya. On September 23, 1999 the Russian Defence Ministry announced that the number of soldiers killed in Dagestan was 281 and the number of wounded was 930.

*** AP, quoting Manilov, indicates 2,508 dead to this date, while the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee, registering the names of dead soldiers, indicates 5-6,000. Manilov also stated that the number of killed Chechen civilians amounted to 1,000, which cannot be but final evidence of the degree of trustworthiness of the official Russian counts.

One of the major problems when putting together this kind of information is the fact that the Russian side, seemingly on purpose, operates with different numbers, sometimes including only Defense Ministry troops, sometimes including also Interior Ministry troops, sometimes counting from August (including casualties in Daghestan), sometimes from October, etc.

Compiled by Prague Watchdog


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