The Daily Escape:
Cowee Mountain Overlook, Blue Ridge Mountains, NC – 2022 photo by Jordan Hill Photography
The Washington Examiner posted this shocking number:
They are quoting from a tweet by the Ukraine Ministry of Defence that says 50,150 Russian soldiers have been killed. That doesn’t mean that the figure is accurate, but it’s a stake in the ground by Ukraine.
A separate tweet by someone who is difficult to verify, translates what purports to be a document from the Russian Ministry of Finance. It provides some backup to the claim of deaths, assuming it’s both accurately translated and authentic: (Brackets by Wrongo)
“The doc[ument] from the Russian Ministry of Finance, which is distributed online, says that as of Aug 28, the families of the dead soldiers were paid 361.4 bill[ion] rubles, 7.4 mill[ion] for each [soldier]. The division would give 48,838 CONFIRMED deaths. This does NOT include those LDNR”
LDNR is an abbreviation for the breakaway Ukrainian provinces under Russian control. This comes a month after a senior Pentagon official said it believes that roughly 70,000-80,000 Russian forces have been killed or wounded in action.
If the number of deaths was correct, one would expect the number of wounded to be substantially higher than the Pentagon estimate, assuming the 50,000 was subtracted from the 80,000 number.
Even if these numbers are exaggerated, and the reality is more like half the number of deaths vs. what Ukraine has reported, few governments can survive losing ~25,000 troops in six months in what amounts to a war of choice.
Meanwhile CNN is reporting on Russian President Putin’s combative speech at the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok, where he claimed that Russia is gaining influence on the global stage. This from a transcript posted on the Kremlin website:
“We have not lost anything and will not lose anything….the entire system of international relations has recently undergone irreversible…tectonic shifts,”
It makes Wrongo wonder if the families of the reported 50,000 Russian soldiers killed feel the same way.
Further, there have been several reports in Western media that support Putin’s claims that the sanctions aren’t really that successful. Western countries are trying to cripple Russia’s $1.8 trillion economy, and the effectiveness of our sanctions is a key ingredient in the outcome of the war in Ukraine.
The Economist reports that the sanctions are not going as well as expected, and Russia’s GDP will shrink by 6% in 2022. But Bloomberg, citing information from planners inside the Kremlin, says that the Kremlin planners’ base case sees the economy bottoming out next year at 8.3% below the 2021 level. That would be a severe economic impact, felt in all corners of the Russian Federation.
On top of that, if Putin carries through on his threat this week to cut off all natural gas exports to Europe, that could cost as much as 400 billion rubles ($6.6 billion) a year in lost tax revenues. And Putin’s touted new export markets wouldn’t fully compensate for the lost European sales, even over the next 3-5 years.
Sanctions won’t win the war. They are having the effect of weakening Russia, when what they thought would be a short war with acceptable costs has turned into a long war with costs that are potentially dangerous.
The high human death toll coupled with the burgeoning economic costs may mean sadder times in Moscow.