Sunday, July 2, 2017

How Much is a Russian’s Life Worth Anyway?

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 1 – According to a new study by the Russian Finance University and the Rosgosstrakh insurance company, Russians now believe they should be compensated 1.2 million US dollars for deaths wrongful or in combat, a figure nearly twice as large as the 624,000 US dollars they suggested two years ago.

            Experts say that this growth is connected “first of all with an increase in the self-assessments of Russians, but despite the increase, the Russian figure is far behind the worldwide average of 2.6 million US dollars in the case of such losses (

            Among Russians as is often the case elsewhere as well, the greatest compensation is given to the youngest, the most educated and the wealthiest, but there are also important differences geographically, with the highest figures being in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the lowest in Toliatti, Khabarovsk, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod and Penza.

            The Russian government is notoriously stingy in paying compensation, Kasparov commentator Aleksandr Nemets says. After the Kursk disaster in 2001, Moscow paid only 100,000 US dollars in rubles to the families of the submarine sailors who had lost their lives (

            According to US media reports at the time, Nemets continues, Putin advised those receiving the money to “put it in a bank … in a foreign bank.”

            Now, the Russian government gives even less for military losses. Some families of soldiers killed in the Donbass have received only about 60,000 US dollars in compensation, and some have not received anything at all.

            The situation with the civil population is worse, or at least it is worse for “the 95 percent of ‘the nonprivileged.’” Most get nothing despite the rise in self-evaluation that Rossiiskaya gazeta is celebrating. All its figures mean is that the gap between expectations and reality is only widening. 

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