Our country suffered huge losses during World War II, but to this day we do not know the exact numbers. What were the victims, from which regions of the USSR, at what age, how many were men, women, children and the elderly, what exactly was the reason for their death.
Official state data on USSR population losses during the war were calculated by Soviet demographers by the so-called balance method by transferring the 1959 census of the year to 1945 and 1939 of the year to 1941. As a result, it was found that the population of the Soviet Union, excluding those born after 22 June 1941, decreased by 37,2 million people during the war. From this figure, the total population decline, the State Commission for the calculation of war losses, subtracted 11,9 million, which could have died during the war while maintaining mortality at the level of 1940 of the year (the so-called normal peaceful death rate). In addition, the abnormally high death rate of children born after 22 in June (and this is 1,3 million) was taken into account in the conditions of war. Thus, the canonical figure was obtained - 26,6 of a million people, which to this day is considered generally accepted.
At about the same time, at the beginning of 90, a large team of military historians under the leadership of Colonel-General Grigori Krivosheev published a statistical study “Grief secrecy was removed” (now reprinted many times under different names), in which the irretrievable demographic losses of the Armed Forces of the USSR (killed who died of wounds, died in captivity) were identified by the number 8,7 million people. On this assessment, on this figure, the military department unswervingly insists to this day.
26,6 - 8,7 = 17,9. Rounded - 18. What does this undeniable arithmetic mean in historical and demographic meaning? Where, when and for what reasons did the 18 decline of millions of Soviet people? Was it really so “safe” at the front that two thirds of all casualties were civilian casualties? For many years this question, this obvious, gaping gulf between the declared figures of the total losses of the Soviet Union and the losses of the Armed Forces has not been commented on at all. Then, with the advent of the "zero years", separate statements began to appear - first anonymous on Internet forums, and then on paper, in newspapers and magazines, and now in publications claiming strict scientific nature, loudly and clearly stated that "German fascist the invaders brutally destroyed 18 millions of civilians in the USSR and it was for this reason that our losses are much greater than the German losses. "
Do such statements at least have a minimal resemblance to reality? This article is dedicated to clarifying this issue.
For the purposes of this study, we divided the population of the USSR into four age and gender groups. These are men of military age (from 1889 to 1928 year of birth), women of the same age, children of both sexes from 1929 to 1938, and old men of both sexes older than 1889 year of birth. At the time of the 1939 census, these men and women were from 10 to 49, children - from 0 to 9, old people - 50 and more years. It is in this sense that the terms "men", "women", "children", and "old men" will be used further.
Having clarified the terms, let's get to the point. First of all, it should be emphasized that the methodology itself, within which the 26,6 figure of a million people was obtained, includes in the total population decline (loss, not death!) Of the population and a purely calculated value - the excess excess mortality in the occupied and rear Soviet areas. This alone makes it absolutely unacceptable to use expressions like "27 million dead." The dead (killed, died from wounds) were less. The "27 million people" includes the untimely dead somewhere in Siberia or Central Asia, the elderly, women and children, that is, people thousands of kilometers away from whom not a single Wehrmacht soldier was present. The citizens of the USSR, who took advantage of military and post-war chaos and fled to the West, entered this figure; As of the end of 1945, these people (by quite correct estimates - hundreds of thousands of people) were alive, some still live and live somewhere in Canada, Argentina, the USA or Australia.
Further. In order to calculate the "excess excess mortality", it is necessary to determine what is considered the norm. The state commission on the calculation of war losses, which worked at the end of the 80-s, adopted as such the level of mortality in the pre-war years. Is this approach appropriate in our particular case? Is it possible to consider the “peacetime” 30s in the Stalinist USSR? Is it possible to take as the "norm" the mortality rate of the population, which for ten years survived dekulakization, famine, mass forced deportations, the Great Terror of 37 – 38? Demographic statistics show that there is a very specific content behind these emotional issues (Fig. 1).
The figures show the decline in the population of the USSR in four age and gender groups (men, women, children, old people) over the 20 years that have passed between the 1939 and 1959 censuses, as well as data on the decline in the population from 1926 to 1939 year, converted to 20- summer period. We see that the mortality of women and children in the so-called peaceful years of socialist construction is comparable to the 20 anniversary, which included the most terrible, extermination war; the mortality of old men in the “peaceful years” was even higher than military and post-war. A significant, several times lower mortality of men, women and children is observed only in the period 59 – 70.
So, if we take for the “normal mortality” the decline in the population of 59 – 70, then in this case the estimated value of the excess population decline of the USSR during the war years grows from 26,6 to 32,9 million (the mortality at the level of 59 – 70) natural loss of only 5,05 million people). Possible another approach to the consideration of the issue. Mortality rates in the 20 – 30-s in such moderately developed European countries as Poland, Finland, and Yugoslavia can be taken as the “norm”. In this case, the estimated value of the excess population loss of the USSR during the war years will not be 26,6, but 29,9 million.
Probably, the reader already has questions: “Why is it so difficult? Why are we looking for points in our own apartment with the help of a reconnaissance orbital station? Is it really impossible to simply raise the population registration documents and extract from them data on the presence of the inhabitants of each city and region of the USSR as of 41 and 45? ” The questions are correct. But there is still no right answer to them. The fact is that the primary documents fixing the population of the USSR at the time of the end of the war have not yet been put into scientific circulation. They are, but they still do not want to declassify. However, the available data from population censuses and post-war mortality are quite enough to make estimates with acceptable accuracy.
Let's start with those figures and patterns that are directly recorded in the available documents, are not in doubt and can be checked by everyone. The first thing that catches your eye when studying the results of the 1959 census of the year is the huge difference between the male and female population of the USSR at the ages in which men were called to the front during the war, that is, from the ages from 1889 to 1928. The imbalance between men and women of these years of birth was 1959 million according to the 18,43 census of the year, and only 1000 men accounted for 641 women of that age. For comparison, according to the 1897 population census, 1000 women aged 30 to 69 had 992 men of the same age; the 1926 census showed a decrease in this indicator to 890 on 1000, and this is after seven years of bloody war (first “imperialist”, then civil).
It is important to compare the difference between men and women in military draft age on the USSR census 1959-th with data for other European countries. So, even in Germany, which was the main participant in World War I, the imbalance of men and women is not as great as in the USSR: according to 1950, 1000 women in the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR were men of specified ages. In Finland, which fought with exorbitant tension for this small country, called for a record high (as a percentage of the total population) number of men in the army, 776 in 1959 women were 1000 men.
In absolute terms, the picture becomes more expressive: in the USSR in 1959, the imbalance between men and women of military draft age is still 18,43 million, and in Germany (Germany + GDR) in 1950 it is 4,63 million. It is easy to verify that the last figure is completely correlated with the well-known estimates of the irretrievable losses (killed, died from wounds, killed in captivity) of the armed forces of Nazi Germany. On the contrary, in the USSR the “shortage of men” of military draft ages categorically does not coincide with the officially established number of losses of the Red Army personnel (8,7 million). The ratio of the numbers 18,43 and 4,63 is also noteworthy. They make us seriously doubt the credibility of the assertion that the losses of the Red Army were only 1,3 times higher than the losses of the enemy, which some representatives of the official military insist on with unfortunate persistence.historical science.
Here, however, it is necessary to take into account that in the USSR and before the war there were less men than women. Thus, according to the census of 1939, the difference between men and women in future military draft age (years of birth from 1889 to 1928) was about 1939 million taking into account the republics and regions attached to the USSR in 1940 – 3,48. Thus, the difference between men and women in military draft age increased over 20 years by 15 million people (18,43 – 3,48).
Arguing abstractly, this huge imbalance in the number of men and women of military draft age could have other reasons than the death of men at the front. It can be assumed, for example, that everything that we know about the punitive policies of the invaders is untrue and “in fact” in the occupied territory, the Germans and the policemen killed only men, and everywhere mercy on women. If such an absurd “hypothesis” needs refutations, then demographic statistics give them in abundance.
Data on the ratio of the number of men and women in military draft age by regions of Russia show that in 1959 the fewest men lived in the Mari ASSR (507 men on 1000 women), in Chuvashia - 517, in Mordovia - 521, in the Ivanovo region - 528. A terrible shortage of men is observed exactly where the German soldier, if they saw, then only as a prisoner working at a construction site. On the other hand, the regions listed above are backward rural backwoods, there were very few large military factories there, respectively, all the available resources of men of military age were raised by mobilization and sent to the front, there these men forever remained ...
As for the regions of the RSFSR, which were under German occupation, the imbalance between the number of men and women there is no more than in the rear Soviet areas. So, in the Bryansk region on 1000 women in military draft age accounted for 545 men, in Orlovskaya - 557, in Kursk - 565, in Smolensk - 530, in Krasnodar Krai - 634, in the Stavropol Territory - 643, in the Rostov region - 647. On the whole, the occupied regions of the USSR, together and individually, are quite comparable with the rear areas of men in terms of the excess loss of men. And here, and there is a lack of men of draft age, and they are about equally small.
The situation in the regions of Ukraine is very indicative. In the western regions, where the mobilization of military service was universally disrupted, the imbalance of the male and female population is much less than the national total. So, according to the 1959 census, in the Lviv region on 1000 women accounted for 707 men, in Stanislavsky (now Ivano-Frankivsk) - 701, in Ternopil - 671, in Chernivtsi - 704, in Rovno - 692. Further east, the difference greatly increases in the Khmelnitsky region, the ratio is already 682, in Zhytomyr region - 577, in Vinnytsia region - 584.
The same regularity has data for Belarus. In the western regions, the difference in the number of men and women of military draft age is relatively small: in the Grodno region of Belarus, 707 men per 1000 women, in the Brest region - 708. But at the same time, in the central Minsk region - already 615, and in the areas of eastern Belarus the imbalance is even more noticeable: in Vitebsk - 581, in Gomel - 578, in Mogilev - 562. It is difficult to explain this with something other than the consequences of mass death at the front of men mobilized in the eastern regions.
The imbalance in the number of men and women as of the 1959 year and the ratio of this indicator across various regions of the USSR give us only a very general idea of the structure of casualties. It becomes clear that they consist mainly of the loss of men of draft age and these men died for the most part not at the occupation, but at the front. Now we are faced with the next, more difficult task - to identify specific figures for various age and age groups of the Soviet Union.
The first steps in the decision are clear. In order to determine the population decline during the war, it is necessary to do the following three steps: transfer the January 1939 census data to the end of June 1941, establish “normal” indicators of peacetime population decline, transfer the census data from 1959 back to the start of the 1946. When calculating the normal peaceful population decline for the period from January 1939 to December 1945, the average mortality between the 1926 and 1939 censuses was taken as the norm. Under these assumptions, from the end of June 1941 to December 31, 1945, while maintaining normal mortality rates, should have passed away all 11,24 million people, including 3,09 million men, 2,21 million women, 1,66 million children and 4,28 million elderly.
The most difficult part of the task is to determine the number of these age and gender groups as of January 1 1946. It is impossible to make such an assessment only on the basis of the censuses of 1939 and 1959. There are too many unknowns in the system of equations. Fortunately, at the turn of the 80 – 90's, the collective of Soviet demographers did a great job of studying the population movement of the Russian Federation after the war (E. M. Andreev, L. E. Darsky, T. L. Kharkov. “The Demographic History of Russia: 1927– 1957 ”, Moscow,“ Informatics ”, 1998, 187 p.). Researchers had access to the population registration documents of the RSFSR for the post-war years, to the data of the Central Statistical Bureau of the USSR. It is not known whether scientists faced the task of determining the age and gender distribution of the victims of World War II, but at least they found the answer for themselves. There are no details about accounting and estimating the number of victims of the war, but there are data on mortality after the war - by year and by age. That means that there is everything that allows us to restore the general tragic picture of the loss of our population.
The study lists the age and sex distribution of post-war population mortality for each year from 1946 to 1958. From these data, the total number of deaths in each gender and age group is calculated, and then the result is subtracted from the very specific data from the 1959 census. Thus, it is possible to obtain a calculated estimate of the size and gender and age structure of the population at the beginning of 1946. The only problem is that researchers have published data on post-war mortality only for the RSFSR. In 1959, more than half (56,6 percent) of the population of the Soviet Union lived in the Russian Federation. It seems quite logical and close to the truth that the assumption that the population decline was approximately the same in the RSFSR and the USSR as a whole. Calculated in such an assumption, data on the size and loss of the population of the entire country during the war years are presented in Figure 2.
As was to be expected, as a part of the overall excess of the population loss of the Soviet Union 25,12 million people, men of military age make up two thirds (16,84 million or 67 percent). In comparison with the normal decline in peacetime, the loss of men during the war years increased 6,5. The population increased in the three other age and sex groups (women, children, old people) during the war years, but the scale of this growth is much smaller than for men. The loss of women in the war years was three times higher than normal peacetime figures, children doubled, and old people one and a half times. In general, the above-standard loss of civilians (women, children, old people) during the war years amounted to 8,27 million people.
After we received the first estimate of the losses of the Great Patriotic War, we solved the second very important task. It was to try to divide the population of the USSR by the front line in its maximum advance to the east to estimate the list population losses separately on the rear of Soviet territory and separately on occupied territory.
The calculations showed that out of 190 millions of the entire population as of 1939, 83,48 million lived in the occupied territories before the war and 106,52 million lived in the Soviet rear (the change in the western borders of Belarus and Ukraine after the war was taken into account). If we assume that in peacetime the mortality rate of the population was about the same in all regions and republics of the USSR, then it is possible to make calculations that show that the above-standard estimated (payroll) population decline of the occupied lands was 14,07 million (including 8,19 million men of military age) and the rear lands - 10,97 million (including 8,66 million men).
However, this calculation does not yet take into account the migration of the population. Next, we studied all the data available in the scientific community on the movements of Soviet citizens both across borders and within the country through the line of maximum advance of the front. The citizens of the USSR brought back to Germany, the exchange of population with Poland, the immigration of Armenians, Russians from Manchuria and Chinese citizens to Central Asia were taken into account. In addition, data on evacuation from the occupied territories in 1941 – 1942, deportations of the population (mainly from west to east), movements of prisoners from the former occupied territories to the east, and post-war migration processes were taken into account. Separately, the number of lands mobilized from the lands left by Soviet troops both before and after their release was estimated for men.
It was found that migration across the border in the occupied territories occurred mainly outside the USSR, thereby arithmetically reducing the number of dead. Migrations across the line of maximum advance of the front also mainly occurred from west to east, freeing the occupied territories from the population and arithmetically reducing the number of dead. By such estimates, it was possible to make the necessary migration adjustment in the data of the list decrease of the population.
The final result is as follows: on the occupied by the fascists, the 4,05 million civilians (women, children, old people, excluding men) were killed or died. Among them were about 2,1 million civilians of Jewish nationality - victims of the genocide. The non-Jewish civilian casualties in the occupied lands are about 1,95 million people. Moreover, not all of them became victims of the terror of the occupiers - among them were those who died above the usual peaceful mortality as a result of deteriorating living conditions, and those killed during hostilities (assaults, shelling and bombing of settlements).
In the rear areas, the supermortality of the civilian population (women, children, old people, excluding men) was 3,34 million people - a magnitude about one and a half times greater than the loss of the non-Jewish population of the occupied areas. Such a high mortality rate in the Soviet rear is quite explicable by systematic malnutrition, extremely difficult housing conditions, the lack of full-fledged medical care, unbearable physical work, to which millions of women and adolescents were involved; All of the above has particularly affected refugees, evacuees and deportees.
Among the many demographic indicators there is one that allows you to reliably and comprehensively assess the quality of life of the population. This is the level of fertility and child survival. Any deterioration in living conditions (hunger, cold, epidemics, destruction of dwellings) primarily affects children and vice versa - every improvement leads to an increase in the survival rate of children, since any normal woman will give an extra piece of bread to the child.
The census data of 1959 of the year allows us to directly, without long and complex logical constructions, determine the number of people born during the war period and living to 1959. The proportion of people living in the USSR 1940 born at the time of the census was 20,1 per person per 1000 population. Those who were born in 1941 are already fewer - 17,53. 1942 Born Years - 11,99 on 1000. This is a very strong decline. Those who were born in 1943 are the least - 8,60. Then some growth begins, but the indicator does not reach the prewar level: those born in 1944 are 9,37 on 1000, in 1945 are 10,61, in 1946 are 17,12.
If we look separately at the occupied and rear republics and regions, we will see noticeable and far from trivial differences between these groups of republics and regions (Fig. 3). In the rear regions of the USSR, the situation with the birth rate is much worse than in the territories that have been under occupation for a long time. 1943 children of birth in the RSFSR are only 7,02 on 1000 people, and this is the lowest figure in the whole Union. On the contrary, in Lithuania, fully occupied in the first week of the war and remaining in occupation until the autumn of 1944, they were born in 1943, survived and lived to 1959, more than two times as many children - 16,1 on 1000. In Belarus, which was occupied for almost the same length of time and became the scene of the most brutal punitive actions of the invaders, this indicator is 11,52 on 1000, in Ukraine - 11,06, in Moldova - 13,52, and in rear Soviet Uzbekistan - 9,31.
Of course, differences in the quality of life (food, housing, access to medical care) are not the only factors that determine the birth rate and survival of children. There are national traditions (the birth rate in Uzbekistan and in peacetime was higher than in the central Russian strip); in war conditions, the mobilization of men was of great importance: there is no man in the house, and there are no newborn children. In order, if possible, to level the impact of these factors, consider the situation with the birth and survival of children 1943 year in two groups of areas.
The first group is the southeast of Ukraine (Zaporizhia, Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk regions). The Germans came there beyond the Dnieper in the fall of 1941 or even later, in the summer of 1942, the mobilization of reservists (the main "waves" of which took place in June and August 1941) was carried out there no worse and no better than in the rear areas of the RSFSR . The second group is the rear areas of Russia with the maximum concentration of large military factories (Gorky, Kuibyshev, Omsk, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk), where almost all the most important artillery were located or were taken there. tank, aviation and aircraft engine plants, and there is every reason to assume that there are relatively more men left in these areas than in the backward agrarian regions. The main population of these two groups of regions is Slavs (Russians and Ukrainians), differences in national-cultural, marriage traditions are minimal.
What does the 1959 census statistics of the year say? In the first (“Ukrainian”) group of regions, 1000, 10,13, 7,15, 7,56 children accounted for 6,38 people. In the above Russian regions, respectively, 7,13, 8,05, 6,77, 6,75, 7,06. Approximately equal proportions, only Zaporizhzhya region is better for the better, longer than others (until October 1943) was under German occupation. To correctly estimate these figures, one should take into account that the decline in the birth rate and the survival rate of children in the occupied territories of southeastern Ukraine was affected not only by a decline in the quality of life, but also by fighting, shelling, bombing, guerrilla and anti-guerrilla actions, terror of the occupants, and Nevertheless, the figures are quite comparable (or even better) than in the Soviet rear.
We have read the words “Rear was the front” many times, “Everything is for the front, everything is for victory ...” The demographic statistics fill these slogans with concrete and, alas, terrible content; it is clearly visible with what inhuman tension the Soviet people worked, what efforts required the rearmament of a huge army, what the price of this unprecedented labor feat turned out to be.