Exploiting the Expendable: Russia’s Use of Inmates in Ukraine Conflict
The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been a topic of much debate and discussion. But what many may not know is that Russia has been exploiting the expendable for their own gain in the conflict. According to a recent research, the Russian military has been using poorly trained troops to draw, and deplete, Ukrainian fire. Kusti Salm, Estonia’s deputy defense minister, in a briefing with reporters in Washington last week, said that Russia was better able to stand its losses than Ukraine. It is estimated that Russia has employed around 40,000 to 50,000 inmates or prisoners in the conflict, who are going up against regular soldiers. This is an unfair exchange rate as for Russia, inmates are expendable.
Moscow has thrown people it sees as expendable into battles for decades, if not centuries. During World War II, Joseph Stalin sent close to one million prisoners to the front. Boris Sokolov, a Russia historian, describes in a piece called “Gulag Reserves” in the Russian opposition magazine Grani.ru that an additional one million “special settlers”— deportees and others viewed by the Soviet government as second-class citizens — were also forced to fight during World War II.
The use of expendable inmates in the conflict is a clever tactical move from the Russian side. According to Mr. Salm, the life of a soldier is worth nothing in Russia, and all lost soldiers can be replaced without shifting the public opinion against the war. This is a major advantage for Russia, as it is better able to stand its losses than Ukraine.
The use of expendable inmates in the Ukraine conflict is a disturbing reality that needs to be addressed. It is an unfair exchange rate and a clear indication of the injustice that is being done to the inmates. It is important to recognize the plight of those who are being used as pawns in this conflict and to ensure that their rights and safety are protected.