Hard demographic data on RKKA?

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TheMarcksPlan
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Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Jul 2021 16:11

A few books I've read have anecdotal evidence regarding the age structure, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity of the wartime RKKA. Walter S. Dunn's works, Ivan's War, Stalin's Defectors...

The last contains interesting quantitative analysis of 3rd Panzer Army's PoW's, including socioeconomic data. From the fact that only 1/3 of defectors were collective farmers, the author claims to undercut the notion that collective farmers were less supportive of the war effort: collective farmers were ~half of Soviet population so they're under-represented in the sample of defectors. Surprisingly (because this is an otherwise good book), the author does not ask whether the RKKA generally or the units facing 3rd Panzer Army were representative of Soviet demographics in '42-'43, whence the data comes.

Why Stalin's Soldiers Fought has some extremely-small sample size data suggesting that the latter-war RKKA was older and less urban than the early war version. That tracks with my (and probably most) general intuition that early-war cohorts were disproportionately urban and young - those most likely to volunteer and most likely to be educated and Communist-leaning.

Any new research on RKKA demographics, or other research that I've missed? I'm particularly interested in how these changed (or didn't) as the war progressed.
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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by Art » 11 Jul 2021 13:49

There were reports on principal demographic characteristics of personnel submitted by military units twice each year as of 1 January an 1 July. Which included breakdown of personnel by age, ethnicity, education, partly affiliation, military service prior to the war (for enlisted men). Bezugolny in his doctorate thesis quoted numbers for ethnic make-up based on statistical data accumulated on the level of the Red Army's General Staff:
viewtopic.php?p=2224155#p2224155
Similarly official publications (Krivosheyev) provide average age and ethnic distribution for 1943-45 based on the same sources.

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 11 Jul 2021 18:53

Art wrote:
11 Jul 2021 13:49
There were reports on principal demographic characteristics of personnel submitted by military units twice each year as of 1 January an 1 July. Which included breakdown of personnel by age, ethnicity, education, partly affiliation, military service prior to the war (for enlisted men). Bezugolny in his doctorate thesis quoted numbers for ethnic make-up based on statistical data accumulated on the level of the Red Army's General Staff:
viewtopic.php?p=2224155#p2224155
Similarly official publications (Krivosheyev) provide average age and ethnic distribution for 1943-45 based on the same sources.
Thanks Art. Interesting thread. If you don't know of any studies on socioeconomic status data of RKKA, I don't know who would. I'm not surprised by the lack of such data, as otherwise Reese wouldn't have resorted to his near-anecdotal data on SES in his 2011 Why Stalin's Soldiers Fought. Archival access seems not to have improved since 2011.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by Art » 12 Jul 2021 08:38

Well, AFAIK data on civil occupation etc were not systematically corrected and processed. Standard reports with stats on age, ethnicity etc on the level of division/army were accessible in archive already in 2011. Regarding records of the General Staff - I cannot say how easily that can be accessed. Bezygolniy did it but having an affiliation to the official Institute of Military History.

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by Art » 12 Jul 2021 20:34

Worth to add rather that detailed stats were collected at annual drafts. For example, during the draft of 1940 124,324 men were drafted to the regular units (Red Army, Navy, NKVD etc) in the West Special Military District (plus 9,916 to labor battalions). Of them, by year of birth:
1922 - 3326
1921 - 34,325
1920 - 42,699
older ages - 43,974

Members and candidates of the communist party - 734
Members and candidates of the Komsomol - 43,026

By occupation:
Workers - 28,354
Collective farmers - 42,361
Individual farmers - 29,488
Office employees - 15,454
Students - 6,807
Artisans - 1,506
Others - 354

By education:
Higher education - 964
Full secondary school - 9,403
Incomplete secondary school (7-9 classes) - 26,905
4-6 classes - 63,523
3 classes or less - 20,415
Illiterate - 3,114

By ethnicity:
Russians - 21,617
Belorussians - 76,809
Jews - 7,060
Poles - 11,028
Ukrainians - 1,235
etc etc

The draft covered former Polish provinces, hence a large number of men born before 1920 without prior military service, individual farmers, Poles, and men who didn't attend schools.
http://docs.historyrussia.org/ru/nodes/ ... e/1/zoom/5

I believe similar stats must be available for other military districts and for the Soviet military as a whole in the RGVA archive.

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Jul 2021 08:01

Art wrote:
12 Jul 2021 20:34

I believe similar stats must be available for other military districts and for the Soviet military as a whole in the RGVA archive.
Thanks Art. That's exactly the kind of data I was looking for. Because it includes former Poland, it probably has a few more "individual farmers" and a few less Komsomols than the RKKA as a whole. And the Kresy was very poor - probably a lower-educated sample than broader RKKA in 1940-41.

What's the linked site? Is it the RGVA archive, such that if I bumble around via Google translate I might find more of these?
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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by Art » 19 Jul 2021 16:32

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Jul 2021 08:01
What's the linked site? Is it the RGVA archive, such that if I bumble around via Google translate I might find more of these?
Online publication of "West Special Military District. End 1939-1941", collection of document. This document is indeed from the RGVA archive.

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by Art » 27 Aug 2021 13:57

Example of statistical information on the annual draft (1939, North-Caucasus Military District):
Total 162 608 reported to the draft boards, of them 134 052 were enrolled to the military, incl.
52 394 born in 1919
36 866 born in the second half of 1918
44 792 of older ages

4 112 VKP(b) and 63 418 Komsomol members
By social group: 41 717 workers, 66 675 collective farmers, 343 individual farmers, 26 965 office employees, 9 352 others
By education: 1 824 - higher education, 18 540 - secondary school, 25 780 - incomplete secondary school (7-9 grades), 67 539 - primary (4-6 grades), 19 232 - 3 grades or less, 1 153 - illiterate
By ethnicity: Russians - 99 218, Ukrainians - 5 442, Belorussians - 528, Tatars - 957, Jews - 569, Armenians - 1 634, Georgians - 198, Azeri - 351, Germans - 1 662, Poles - 124, Kazakhs - 1 065, Kalmyks - 1 699, Ossetians - 2 741, people of Dagestan - 8 011, Kabardians and Karachays - 3 851, Checehs - 3 146, Ingushes - 658, other - 2 594

From the article:
https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/lyuds ... iod/viewer

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Aug 2021 09:53

Hi TMP,

Looking at Art's data in Post #5, it looks as though collective farmers did make up about a third. Could your "half" perhaps be conflating collective and "individual" farmers?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2021 06:42

Sid Guttridge wrote:
28 Aug 2021 09:53
Hi TMP,

Looking at Art's data in Post #5, it looks as though collective farmers did make up about a third. Could your "half" perhaps be conflating collective and "individual" farmers?

Cheers,

Sid.
Data in #5 covers the only area in which significant "individual farmers" existed by 1940 - newly acquired territory (former Poland) under the Western Special Military District. You will recall that Stalin virtually eliminated the "individual farmer" category within the prewar SU. So #5's data isn't representative.

In post #7, Art's data for the Northern Caucasus is more representative of Soviet agriculture: 66,675 collective and 343 individual farmers.

The North Caucasus was a particularly agricultural area, containing Russia's most fertile land and few large industrial cities (Krasnodar being the largest). That RKKA recruitment from this area only matched the SU's ~50% collective farm population suggests that RKKA was drawing particularly from the urban classes. In particular, that recruits were ~half komsomols and 31% "workers" almost certainly far exceeded the proportions of those categories in the North Caucasus.

Of course I can't say anything for certain because I don't have demographic data on the North Caucasus and don't have broader RKKA data. But so far this is about what I'd expect, were it true that the early-war RKKA was more urban - and therefore better educated - than was the later-war RKKA.

Thanks again for the data, Art.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2021 07:58

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2021 06:42
The North Caucasus was a particularly agricultural area, containing Russia's most fertile land and few large industrial cities (Krasnodar being the largest). That RKKA recruitment from this area only matched the SU's ~50% collective farm population suggests that RKKA was drawing particularly from the urban classes. In particular, that recruits were ~half komsomols and 31% "workers" almost certainly far exceeded the proportions of those categories in the North Caucasus.

Of course I can't say anything for certain because I don't have demographic data on the North Caucasus and don't have broader RKKA data. But so far this is about what I'd expect, were it true that the early-war RKKA was more urban - and therefore better educated - than was the later-war RKKA.
Actually I do have some data. Here's the rural population by region:

Image

And here's total population by region:

Image

As you can see, SU as a whole was 67% rural; North Caucasus was 75.4% rural. In addition, North Caucasus had more sown hectares per capita (1.573) than the SU generally (1.195). Thus it's likely that more of the region's rural population was directly in farming than for other rural populations.

Art (or anyone else) do you know the definition of "worker" used in your post #7 data? If it's something like "industrial workers" then the 31% representation among North Caucasian recruits far exceeds the SU's industrial sector employment of <20%.

...which again suggests that the early-war RKKA was disproportionately urban, educated, and communist (very high komsomol numbers).
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Aug 2021 08:44

Hi TMP,

Interesting stuff.

Another question - What is the definition of "rural"?

Does it include villages and towns servicing the rural economy, or are we talking literally people working on the land (actual farmers)?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Hard demographic data on RKKA?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2021 10:01

Sid Guttridge wrote:
30 Aug 2021 08:44
Another question - What is the definition of "rural"?

Does it include villages and towns servicing the rural economy, or are we talking literally people working on the land (actual farmers)?
I assume that rural means people living outside of cities (defined as settlements below a certain population threshold - 2,500 per US Census IIRC). That includes many people in villages who are not farmers (general store clerk, hoosier, postman, etc.). That's implicit in my inference that North Caucasus had more farmers as a % of rural population than in the rural SU generally.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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