A lost generation

An early morning reflection

An early morning reflection on a lost generation of young people, this time from a Russian perspective.

I don’t know exactly how many Russians have died or been injured in Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine. The figures range from 50,000 to 350,000. Regardless, the numbers are staggering. 350,000 people, mainly young men with their futures ahead of them, are gone or so injured that they can never again lead normal lives. And what society do they return to when the war ends?


Average life expectancy

The average life expectancy in Russia has historically been lower than in many other developed countries. According to data I have found, the average life expectancy in Russia has been about 68-72 years, but it will decrease even more as the war claims the lives of the youngest. And those who return will likely carry significant physical and psychological traumas that often remain untreated, or are self-treated with alcohol.



Alcoholism has been and continues to be a serious societal issue in Russia. It contributes to a high death rate among men, especially in working age, entirely independent of the Ukraine war.

Putin doesn’t recruit his soldiers from the big cities. It’s easier to recruit from places with lower living standards because soldier salaries mean more to those from the poorest parts of the country than from cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk. In these cities, there is better access to jobs and higher wages. It makes it more attractive to enlist in Putin’s war in Ukraine if you come from a poor area.

The recipe

In short: the recipe for losing a generation of young people. All because an older man with a kind of megalomania probably sees the end of his own life not far ahead and wants to leave a significant mark before he departs. Little does he know that when he’s gone, he’ll leave behind a country that will struggle with the consequences for decades.

There will be mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters who will carry a grief over lost family members and economic challenges throughout their entire lives, challenges I can’t even begin to comprehend.

All for Putin’s lebensraum.

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