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How many Soviet citizens were killed in World War Two?

Discussions on all aspects of the USSR, from the Russian Civil War till the end of the Great Patriotic War and the war against Japan.
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How many Soviet citizens were killed in World War Two?

Postby Kim Sung on 19 Jun 2005 15:33

After the WW2, Stalin made public that the casualties of the entire Soviet citizens during the war are 7 millions, which was so huge, but acceptable to the feelings of the victorious Soviet people, compared to enormous human losses of other countries. This was, of course, a false announcement intended to conceal Stalin's military failure.

Nikita Khrushchev who criticized Stalin of his super-dictatorship announced that the total casualties are about 20 millions. This number was shocking but not accurate. The casualties of the Soviet citizens were underestimated.

On May, 1985, Gorbachev announced the report of the special committee organized to make a scrutiny of the accurate Soviet casualties. The committee consisted of members of the National Commitee for Statistics, the Soviet Ministry of Defense, universities and other research institute.

The newly announced number was 26.6 millions. This number is based on the following data.

1. The popuplation of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 : 196.7 millions

2. The number of suvivors among the above population on December 31, 1945 : 159.5 millions

3. The number of the killed among the initial population : 37.2 millions(196.7-159.5)

4. The supposed number of natural deaths during the war : 11.9 millions

5. The supposed number of unnatural deaths during the war : 25.3 millions

6. The supposed number of new births during the war : 12.3 millions

7. The supposed number of unnatural deaths among newly born babies during the war : 1.3 million

8. The supposed number of surviving babies born during the war : 11 millions

So, we can conclued that the total casualties(the number of the killed) are 26.6 millions. (25.3+1.3)

But, the important factor on which we must focus is the number of the new births which could have been much larger if it had not been for the war. According to the research of M. Elma and L. Maksudov, the number of the new birth would have been 28 millions if it had not been for the war.

The actual number of the births during the war was 12.5, so 15.5(28-12.5) million babies lost opportunities to be born in the world. Based on this data, the total Soviet casualties during WW2 are 42.1 millions(26.6+15.5). It's an unbelievable number!

My method of calculating the Soviet casualties may be extreme, but we can assume that the unprecedented casualties during WW2 would have affected the Soviet society more deeply and adversely than we might expect.

What do you think of these enormous casualties? What impact did they have on the post-war Soviet society? Didn't the defeat of the Soviet Union in competition against USA have any relation to the human losses during WW2? What do you think of my assumption? And do you have any data on the number of the wounded among the Soviet combatants and civilians?

It's a real tragedy to be reminded of Charlie Chaplin's famous remark "Death of one man is tragedy, but deaths of millions of people is statistical" :(

* The popuplation of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1945(196.7 millions) includes the populations of the regions annexed by the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1940: Bessarabia, Eastern Poland, Finnish Karelia and Baltic States.
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Postby Andreas on 13 Dec 2007 18:47

This paper maybe of interest:

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/econo ... eas03a.pdf

All the best

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Postby Kim Sung on 14 Dec 2007 02:02

Thanks for the excellent source, Andreas!
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Postby Peter H on 21 Dec 2007 23:35

Was there a baby boom in the Soviet Union,like in the West,after 1945?
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Postby GaryD on 22 Dec 2007 10:16

Peter H wrote:Was there a baby boom in the Soviet Union,like in the West,after 1945?


Yes. This is the number of births per 1,000 population taken from http://www.blitzfront.com/forums/lofive ... 71-50.html

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Last edited by GaryD on 22 Dec 2007 10:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby GaryD on 22 Dec 2007 10:34

Here is births for the U.S. from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html :
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Postby Kim Sung on 22 Dec 2007 16:59

From the above charts, so-called Sputnik Baby Boom is not confirmed.
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Postby GaryD on 22 Dec 2007 17:58

Kim Sung wrote:From the above charts, so-called Sputnik Baby Boom is not confirmed.


Good point, although the straightness of the line from 1960 to 1970 is suspiciously regular, like they have data points for 1960 and 1970 and extrapolate the rest. The Sputnik boom may be too small to show up on a chart like this. After all, it was a one-time event, nothing like the effect of millions of men being away from their wives for several years then coming home.
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Postby Peter H on 23 Dec 2007 23:45

Thanks. :)
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Postby viriato on 03 Jan 2008 20:11

According to Ellman and Maksudov 2,7 milion soviet citizens emigrated between 1941 and 1945. Someone could tell me from which republics did they come and what were their nationality?
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Postby Art on 24 Jan 2008 11:17

The Soviet repatriational administration had the following data on the number of USSR citizens which were displaced during the war and remained abroad.
Total 451 561 people were registered by 1st January 1952
Of them 144 934 Ukrainians
109 214 Latvians
63 401 Lithuanians
58 924 Estonians
31 704 Russians
9 856 Belorussians
and 33 528 others
(V.Zemskov "Repatriation of displaced Soviet citizens")
I think almost for sure these data were lower than the actual number of emigrants, but the general trend is evident. The most part of emigrants were from the territories annexed in 1939-40. It should be said that as a general rule the repatriation of Soviet citizens living beyond the borders of 1939 from the western zone of occupation was voluntary as as opposed to the situatian with other repatriants.
The Zhukov's commision on former prisoners of war created in 1956 had somewhat different figures - 504 847 former Soviet citizens living abroad with refference to the Foreign Ministry's data and without breakdown by nationality.

The citizens displaced or emigrated during the war formed only one component of equation. The other parts were the balance of territorial changes (USSR returned Byalastok and Przemusl regions to Poland but recieved Transcarpatian region and a part of Prussia (the latter almost without population) and post-war migrations - for example the transfer of Poles from the former Polish territories annexed in 1939 is the first thing that comes to mind.
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Postby Art on 24 Jan 2008 13:24

I found some statistics on post-war exchange of population between USSR and Poland in the article of Pavel Polyan (in Russian):
http://www.etnosfera.ru/ecentr.php?onew ... =937&id=10
518 thousands people moved from Poland (in post-war borders) to the territory of USSR, of them 482 109 to Ukraine, 35 961 to Belorussia, and 14 thousands to Lithuania.
At the same time 1 090 thousands migrated to Poland from Soviet territory, of them 789 982 from Ukraine, 231 152 from Belorussia, 69 774 from Lithuania.
The sources is the State Archive of Russian Federation.
As the article says there are alternative data by Maksudov and Kabuzan (without certain source specified unfortunately):
1 526 thousands migrated to Poland in 1945-46, of them 810,5 thousands from Ukraine, 274,2 thousands from Belorussia and 178 thousands from Lithuania.
So conclusion from both sources is that migrational movement of population from the USSR to Poland clearly outweighted the reverse process.
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Postby RCW Mark on 25 Jan 2008 05:29

Moving the Polish borders 100s of kilometres eastward may have caused that effect Art. What I'm suggesting is that most of the people "emigrating" from the USSR to Poland were living in Poland prior to the war. Can a person born in Polish L'vov and who grew up in Poland until 1939, really be considered to be emigrating the USSR? I don't think so -- to me they are Poles who are moving internally, not emigration at all (in fact they are avoiding shifting country).

I think the calculations of the first post need to be corrected for this issue, and also the very many people in the USSR who fled westward in the chaos of the war and its aftermath.

Also, some of those "unnatural deaths" were fighting on the Axis side. I have always found it kind of odd to include them when showing what a sacrifice the Soviets made to repelling Fascism.
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Postby Peter H on 25 Jan 2008 11:25

A discussion here as well:

viewtopic.php?t=96343

From nickterry:

Hard Data, Estimates and Guesstimates

- 9.244 million Soviet military deaths incl POWs*
- 556,000 Soviet military nonbattle deaths*
- 200,000 Soviet civilian volunteers for German service killed

- 622,000 GULag inmates died*
- 64,721 civil executions for political and criminal offences*
- estimated 400,000 deaths among 2.75 million deportees
- > 3 million deaths in Soviet controlled territory from disease, hunger, exhaustion (esp. evacuees)

- estimated 100,000 killed in Polish-Ukrainian conflicts, by NKVD in 1944-45 in reannexed territories, etc.

- 900,000 victims of the siege of Leningrad*
- 6 million victims of shootings, gassings, hangings (Jews and non-Jews) under Axis occupation*
- > 3 million deaths in Axis occupied territory from disease, hunger, exhaustion
- 300,000 deaths among Ostarbeiter and Soviet inmates of German KZs

- 500,000 not returning to Soviet Union (collaborators, Poles, Balts, Ukrainians emigrating, KZ inmate-DPs)

total 25.472 million

- 1.128 million or more deaths from collateral damage

total 26.6 million

- unknown number displaced out of Soviet territory during population exchange programs in 1944-45

* = hard data with chronological/regional breakdowns from source below.



And:

To recap, there are the following potential reductions in population cause not by excess deaths but by emigration:

- 500,000 non-repatriated DPs and refugees, primarily from the Baltic states and annexed territories
- 104,893 Soviet DPs who were repatriated between March 1946 and January 1952
- at least 100,000 Soviet DPs repatriated between 31.12.1945 and 1.3.1946
- part of 424,000 Finns resettled from Soviet territory to Finland
- part of a balance of 558,788 Poles resettled from annexed territories over the contrarian movement

The whopper is the Bialystok district which had been Soviet in 1941, but was ceded to Poland after the war. The signing of the Soviet-Polish treaty appears to have been 21 April 1945. I have no figures immediately to hand for the population of this territory ceded to Poland, but it must have been of the order of a million inhabitants.

I only have ADK's article in a 1995 version, and it does not mention factoring out or in any of the above. So for the moment, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and speak of a potential reduction in the Soviet death toll of perhaps 2 million people.

ADK's population statistics, naturally being based on registrations, most likely suffered from a hidden margin of error for transients. Normally demographers such as ADK allow and correct for this kind of fluctuation. Thus, the effects of emigration and repatriation might serve only to dampen down the overall figure.(Another related aspect is the extent to which repatriated citizens were registered at all in the overall population statistics.)

There are no easy answers, but the above indicates that by no means all population losses recorded by demographic statistics stemmed from excess deaths.
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Postby Art on 25 Jan 2008 15:37

RCW Mark wrote:What I'm suggesting is that most of the people "emigrating" from the USSR to Poland were living in Poland prior to the war.

That is beyond any doubt.
Can a person born in Polish L'vov and who grew up in Poland until 1939, really be considered to be emigrating the USSR?

Well, from the point of view of the Soviet law and according to the factual state of affairs the Eastern Poland became the part of the USSR prior to the war so its population constituted (from this ponit view!) the part of the total USSR population. Moreover, when you look at this from purely methodological angle it's much more easy to calculate the net loss of population based on the total population figures than when trying to find out addtionally what part of population can be considred as real Soviets (and I'm not really sure that it's possible to find a certain criterium here). Then it must be added that a certain statistics on migration between the annexed parts of the USSR and the rest of territory in 1939-45 is an issue too.
and also the very many people in the USSR who fled westward in the chaos of the war and its aftermath.

AFAIU that is the part of migration movement which Maksudov and Ellman were trying to take into account.
Also, some of those "unnatural deaths" were fighting on the Axis side. I have always found it kind of odd to include them when showing what a sacrifice the Soviets made to repelling Fascism.

Andreev et al. calulated the net demographical loss due to the war. By definition it includes migrational balance as well as losses of collaborants. Singling out certain components of this loss is another problem and a rather complex one.
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