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How Mariupol citizens were killed according to GOST

Russia has a standard for calculating the number of casualties in the bombing of cities. The worst estimates of the death toll in Mariupol are consistent with it

You are reading a text version of an Explainer video

In Russia, there is a GOST (state-regulated standards), which establishes who, where and how should bury bodies in times of war and emergencies. This official document also suggests methods for calculating the possible number of deaths in cases of the bombing of a city whose inhabitants are not in specially equipped shelters. We applied these calculations to Mariupol and tried to calculate how many civilian casualties the generals of the Russian army and Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin assumed when they decided to bomb Mariupol. The results stunned us.

Referring only to official Russian sources, we will tell you how the Russian army consciously decided to destroy Mariupol and its civilian population. There will be no emotional judgments or subjective opinions in this video, only unbiased facts and bold figures. Our material is based solely on Russian GOSTs (a set of technical standards used in Russia) and textbooks for calculating the number of victims in the bombing of a large city, which we have carefully reviewed. You would be surprised, but there are some. We reviewed the materials carefully, and we purposely refrained from being emotional. It wasn’t easy, but we want you to share this analysis with your acquaintances who are supporters of the ‘special military operation’ so that they won’t think we are biased.

According to the UN, by October 18, 2022, the number of civilian casualties from Russia’s attack on Ukraine was nearly 16,000 killed and wounded people. The Russian media report these data, often without specifying that these are only confirmed casualties and that the UN considers it a significant underestimate. Ukrainian officials claim that 22,000 civilians were killed in Mariupol alone, and the Ilyichevsk morgue in Mariupol estimates that there could be as many as 100,000 dead in the city. Today I will tell you about a couple of other very scary, cynical, but officially recognized methods of calculating the possible number of victims.

There is a channel in Telegram called ‘We Survived in Mariupol.’ Its leader Inna (her last name is known to our editorial staff) was in the city during the blockade until April 16. She drew her subscribers’ attention to the forms of casualty calculations given in Russian GOSTs and textbooks and based on the experience of previous wars. They show that the number of civilian casualties in Mariupol could be as high as 135,000 and that this forecast was well known to those in the Kremlin who made the decision to storm the city and its methods. Inna, who survived the storming and then the Russian filtration camp with her family, concludes that, quote, ‘a full-scale genocide of a major city with maximum civilian casualties did not just take place, but was planned well in advance.’

First Method: Calculating according to the GOST

First of all, the author of the analysis looks at the Russian GOST R 42.7.01-2021, which was approved September 13, 2021, and entered into force February 1, 2022, that is, just three weeks before the start of the war.

We checked: there really is such a GOST. A document with the monstrously icy title ‘Urgent Burial of Corpses in Time of War and Peace’ establishes who, where, and how should bury bodies in times of war and emergencies.

This GOST contains a table for calculating ‘possible irretrievable losses of the population from modern conventional means of destruction.’ The number of casualties, according to the table, depends on the degree of destruction of houses and the availability of shelters. In Mariupol, there were few shelters that met the requirements for ‘protection against the effects of nuclear, chemical weapons and conventional means of destruction.’ Multistory buildings in the city were often without basements. Some basements were closed or flooded, and others proved unreliable and became traps when a house collapsed. Consequently, most Mariupol residents fell into the categories of ‘unprotected population’ or ‘population in the simplest shelters.’

The estimated death toll rises sharply when more than 50 percent of a city’s area is heavily and completely devastated. And with each successive tenth of an area, the number of casualties rises rapidly for all population groups.

The Russian occupation authorities estimated the degree of destruction of the housing stock in Mariupol at 70%, while Ukraine estimated it at 95%, Inna, who lived in the Cheremushki neighborhood but collected data from other neighborhoods as well, suggests that the degree of destruction of the city is close to 100%. This means that, according to the Russian GOST, 10 to 30% of the townspeople could have perished, with the second figure being more likely. The population of Mariupol before the war was about 450,000 people, by the way, mostly Russian-speaking, whom Russia, as you know, went to ‘save.’ But in fact, there may have been more people in the city: undocumented newcomers, refugees from neighboring cities who arrived in the first days after the invasion.

It is still unknown exactly how many of the city’s residents were evacuated. According to Ukraine, as of the end of March, 140,000 residents left before the blockade of Mariupol, 150,000 were evacuated afterward, 30,000 were deported to Russia and another 170,000 remained in the city.

At the same time, a month later, at the end of April, Russian officials claimed it had deported only 144,000 people from Mariupol to Russia. These figures obviously do not add up. Otherwise, there should have been no one left in the city.

The leader of the telegram channel ‘We Survived in Mariupol’ denies any information about widespread evacuation, especially to Russia. She knows that only two trains with 800 people were sent to the east. And the Russians from fifteen 26-flat five-story buildings, 300-400 people in each, only about fifty people were evacuated before her eyes.

Therefore Inna considers the number of evacuees negligible. And she calculates losses from the pre-war population of the city, i.e. 450,000 people.

And if it is so, then, calculating not by the Western methodical instructions, but by Russian GOST, in the city could be a loss of 30 % from the 450,000, this is, 135,000 persons.

Second Method: Calculating by the textbook

In her calculations, Inna also refers to the textbook ‘Organization of the Medical Service of Civil Defense of the Russian Federation,’ published in Moscow in 2002 and recommended by the Ministry of Health for training. It has a section that allows calculating not only irretrievable losses of the population from the use of weapons but also sanitary losses, which the GOST described by me does not address.

Let’s understand what all this means. Non-returnable losses are those killed on the spot or missing in action, while the medical losses are those wounded, on average three times as many as killed, and in need of medical care. Without medical care, some of the casualties go into the category of non-returnable.

In Mariupol, where people had virtually no opportunity to receive timely medical care, the survival rate among

the wounded was no higher than 70% (this is the survival rate for medical care during World War II). The possible total number of casualties should have risen from 135,000 (this is the GOST figure, remember?) to 276,000 (this is GOST plus the unrecorded dead from wounds in it).

Like any textbook, this book offers students the option of solving problems. Here is an example of one of them: ‘The city of M., with a population of 250,000 people, was attacked by five enemy F-111 missile-bombing planes with modern conventional weapons at night. The wartime economic facilities were hit with precision weapons. The task: to calculate the possible losses of the population in the hotbeds of destruction in the residential sector of the city and among the personnel of the objects of the economy …’

Since without medical care, people with severe and moderate injuries would very likely die, according to the textbook, a single nighttime air strike on a city of 250,000 could kill 9,800 people (some on the spot, some would die later). Residential areas of Mariupol were bombed and shelled for weeks on end. Even if half of the population managed to take shelter in rudimentary shelters, the conversion to 450,000 population would imply the deaths of 204,750 people. This figure is very different from any previously announced. And I understand that it is shocking. It shocks me too! However, it is confirmed by the analysis of another table for the calculation of irretrievable and sanitary losses among the civilian population from the same textbook.

Inna, a survivor of Mariupol and who subsequently did all these calculations, which we checked, writes, and I quote: ‘I emphasize: such figures are the basis of the official textbook, recommended by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation for training in the medical service system of civil defense. The Russians should have proceeded from these figures when planning combat operations in a large and densely populated city like Mariupol. She concludes: those who made the decision to storm Mariupol with almost half a million inhabitants knew in advance that:

1) tens of thousands of people will be killed because of the decision to bomb the housing stock under a total blockade,

2) tens of thousands more people will die because of the decision to destroy the medical infrastructure and block the supply of medicines, including those with severe and moderate wounds.

‘They were coming to kill us. Knowing in advance that it was a mass murder,’ states Inna.

After receiving her calculations, we checked them ourselves, and all her conclusions were confirmed. Indeed, in the example of both GOST and the textbook, the numbers add up.

In addition, we also spoke with an expert in international criminal law, Sergei Vasiliev, director of the Center for Criminal Justice at the University of Amsterdam. He confirmed that GOSTs and textbooks can indeed serve as circumstantial evidence of intent to commit war crimes in future courts. Such materials may indeed indicate that those who ordered the bombing and shelling of civilian targets were aware of the grave consequences of such methods of warfare.

During the storming of the city, Inna wrote a diary, collected statistics, and documented crimes. In September, she reported in her Telegram channel that she had been contacted to testify by investigators from the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The prosecutor’s office of the International Criminal Court initiated an investigation into the situation in Ukraine back in March and has been meticulously collecting evidence ever since. The Russian Criminal Code also contains articles of responsibility for war crimes and genocide. I hope that both Inna and other residents of Mariupol, and we definitely wait for a fair investigation and unbiased trial of those who so coldly and cynically made the decision to massacre civilians. And I hope that this trial will take place in the foreseeable future.

To be continued…

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