Russian Federation

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 17 September 2014


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2013

3,169 civilian mine/ERW casualties (736 killed; 2,432 injured; 1 unknown)

Casualties in 2013

25 (2012: 23)

2013 casualties by outcome

7 killed; 17 injured; 1 unknown (2012: 2 killed; 21 injured)

2013 casualties by device type

17 undefined mines; 7 other ERW; 1 unknown device

In 2013, 25 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties were identified in the Russian Federation through Monitor media scanning. All recorded casualties in 2013 were male. The great majority (23) were military or police security personnel. No child casualties were recorded among civilians. All casualties took place in either Chechnya (16) or Ingushetia (nine).

The total number of mine/ERW casualties throughout Russia remains unknown. Casualties from explosives, particularly those involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs), have occurred regularly in Russia due to insurgent use in the North Caucasus and criminal activities throughout the country. Most reported incidents were clearly caused by command-detonated devices. However, in many cases, the types of explosive items involved could not be identified.

Casualty reporting in Chechnya over time has been more consistent than the rest of the Russian Federation. However, in 2010 the NGO Voice of the Mountains (Laman Az, VoM), which had been supported by UNICEF, ceased its active surveillance of explosive incidents due to a lack of funding.[1]

Under an agreement signed in early 2012 between the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross, the VoM casualty database served as the basis for tracking mine/ERW survivors. Members of the Chechen branch of the Russian Red Cross were subsequently trained to collect and manage data on mine incidents and the needs of the survivors. As of end of 2013, some 1000 mine/ERW casualties had been visited and their data has been collected. The database is managed by the Russian Red Cross Chechen branch coordinator with the assistance of the ICRC.[2]

As of the end of 2013, there were at least 3,169 civilian mine/ERW casualties (736 killed; 2,432 injured; 1 unknown), including 783 children, since 1994. UNICEF data demonstrated a steady decline in annual casualties in Chechnya from a peak of 713 in the year 2000.[3]

Cluster munitions were reported to have caused at least 638 casualties; 612 of the casualties occurred during strikes in Chechnya (294 killed; 318 injured) in the period from 1994 to the end of 1999. The other 26 casualties were caused by unexploded submunitions and were reported between 1994 and the end of 2007.[4]

Victim Assistance

The total number of mine/ERW survivors is not known, but is in the thousands. Most mine survivors in the Russian Federation are war veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and the South Caucasus, or are civilian casualties in Chechnya. At least 2,414 civilians have been injured by mines/ERW in Chechnya since 1994.[5]

There is no victim assistance coordination in Russia, specifically not in Chechnya which is the most mine/ERW-affected area. The Ministry of Health and Social Development is responsible for programs and benefits for persons with disabilities.

 In 2013, the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross continued to identify and collect data on the needs of mine/ERW survivors with a view to facilitate support of survivors in Chechnya in cooperation with the ICRC, national authorities, or other international and national organizations.[6]

In 2013, the ICRC continued to provide micro-economic grants to support income generating projects, based on data collected under the agreement between the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross. Throughout 2013, 126 mine/ERW survivors and their families in Chechnya received support through this program.[7]

Mine/ERW survivors in most of Russia are provided with the same services as other persons with disabilities or, in the case of military casualties, as disabled veterans from post-World War II conflicts.[8]

In 2013, the authorities took steps to enhance the availability and quality of emergency medical care in the Russian northern Caucasus regions. Physicians, nurses and ambulance workers bolstered their ability to treat those in need, including weapon-wounded or mine/ERW victims, through advanced training, several sessions of which were organized by a local training center supported by the ICRC.[9]

Numerous war veterans’ groups and associations of disabled war veterans in many regions of Russia advocated for improved benefits and implementation of legislation. They also provided services, including physical rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration activities.[10] Civilians with disabilities were entitled to free prostheses and mobility devices as well as free transportation to the place of treatment or rehabilitation in the available network of institutions.[11]

Several laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, transportation, access to healthcare, and the provision of state services or guarantee their rights to equal treatment, but these laws were generally not enforced. Persons with disabilities continued to face discrimination and denial of equal access to education, employment, and social institutions. Legislation on the protection of persons with disabilities requires that buildings be made accessible to persons with disabilities, but the law was not enforced and in practice many buildings were not accessible. In March 2011, Russia adopted the State Program on Accessible Environment for 2011–2015 to provide access to services in healthcare, culture, transport, and information. During 2013, the program continued under the supervision of the newly formed Ministry of Labor and Social Development.[12]

Russia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 25 September 2012.


[1] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, Project Officer, Child Protection, UNICEF, 11 March 2012.

[2] Email from Herbi Elmazi, Regional Weapon Contamination Advisor, ICRC, 25 July 2014.

[3] Monitor media monitoring for 2011; and email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF, 2 May 2011.

[4] Handicap International (HI), Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 85; and ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2007: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, 2007).

[5] This includes the UNICEF cumulative total 1994–April 2011 and Monitor media scanning for 2011, 2012, and 2013.

[6] Emails from Herbi Elmazi, ICRC, 12 April 2013, and 25 July 2013.

[7] Ibid., 25 July 2014.

[8] See previous ICBL, “Country Profile: Russia.”

[9] ICRC, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, May 2014, p. 391.

[11] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form F, 22 March 2010.

[12] United States Department of State, “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Russia,” Washington, DC, 27 February 2014; and Human Rights Watch, “Russia: Reform Domestic Laws on Disability Rights,” 4 May 2012.