Karachay-Cherkess women protest Moscow’s use of Muslim troops in Ukraine

The Russian Federation soldier captured in Sumy, Ukraine is from Kalmykia where Buddhism is the predominant religion. Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022. Image: screen capture from Ukrainian MoD's Telegram channel @rf200_now set up to help Russian military families find their relatives captured or killed in Ukraine.

The Russian Federation soldier captured in Sumy, Ukraine is from Kalmykia where Buddhism is the predominant religion. Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022. Image: screen capture from Ukrainian MoD's Telegram channel @rf200_now set up to help Russian military families find their relatives captured or killed in Ukraine. 

Opinion, Russia

Almost from the beginning of Putin’s war in Ukraine, there have been reports suggesting that non-Russians and Russians from distant rural regions have suffered larger combat losses in the fighting than ethnic Russians and urban residents.

“Russian” combat losses in Ukraine appear to be disproportionately non-Russians or ethnic Russians from rural areas

The most probable explanation for this pattern is that non-Russians (especially from the North Caucasus) and rural Russians are disproportionately represented in the army, rather than that commanders are using them as cannon fodder (see Potential Wildcard in Ukrainian Conflict: Russian Army Not Ethnically Homogeneous and Russia’s Military Draft—Serious Problems That Go Beyond Ukraine).

Russian soldiers admit heavy losses, looting, shelling civilians in phone calls to wives and mothers

But because many non-Russian casualties are now being returned home to be buried in their own national republics and because ethnic Russian casualties from small towns and villages likely get more attention there than victims in large cities, many in both places appear to believe that Moscow is using them unfairly.

Ukraine’s Muslim leaders united against Putin’s war; Russia’s very much divided

Now comes the first report of a protest by Muslim women about the use of Muslim men in Russian combat operations in Ukraine. The Idel-Ural portal reports that in Karachay-Cherkessia federal subject of the Russian Federation, women on March 20 blocked traffic to demand the authorities provide them with information on their relatives who were sent to fight in Ukraine but now can’t be contacted.

Six of the women involved were detained and convicted of violating Russian laws governing the holding of demonstrations. The portal cites a local Internet site on this point, but adds that at present “no more details are available.”

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