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Last Updated: 25 November 2013

Casualties and Victim Assistance


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2012

3,167 civilian mine/ERW casualties (736 killed; 2,431 injured)

Casualties in 2012

23 (2011: 24)

2012 casualties by outcome

2 killed; 21 injured (2011: 10 killed; 14 injured)

2012 casualties by device type

11 undefined mines; 12 other ERW

In 2012, 23 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties were identified in the Russian Federation through media scanning. All recorded casualties in 2012 were male; 11 were boys. Sixteen casualties were civilian, and the other seven were military or police security personnel. Ten of the casualties occurred in Chechnya.

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 has been more consistent than the rest of the Russian Federation. However, in 2010 the NGO Voice of the Mountains (VoM), which had been supported by UNICEF, ceased active explosive incident surveillance 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: 15 members of the Chechen branch of the Russian Red Cross were trained to collect and manage data on mine incidents and the needs of the survivors (200 were interviewed in 2012). While the database was operated and managed by the Russian Red Cross, the ICRC provided quality control of the data collected and entered.[2]

As of the end of 2012, there were at least 3,167 civilian mine/ERW casualties (736 killed; 2,431 injured), 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 2,413 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.

 A 2012 agreement between the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross aimed to facilitate support of survivors in Chechnya in cooperation with the ICRC, national authorities, or other international and national organizations.[6]

In 2012, the ICRC provided micro-economic grants, based on data collected under the agreement between the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross, to 52 mine/ERW survivor families in Chechnya. Additionally, at the request of the Vladikavkaz Orthopedic Center the ICRC translated and distributed the Otto Bock manual on orthopedic devices in Russia.[7]

Mine/ERW survivors in 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]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Several laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities 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 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 a State Program on Accessible Environment for 2011–2015 to provide access to services in healthcare, culture, transport, and information.[11]

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, 12 April 2013.

[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), www.the-monitor.org.

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

[6] Email from Herbi Elmazi, ICRC, 12 April 2013.

[7] Ibid., and 23 April 2013.

[8] See previous editions ICBL, “Country Profile: Russia,” www.the-monitor.org.

[9] See, for example, All-Russian Public Organization of Invalids from the war in Afghanistan and military trauma, www.oooiva.ru; and All-Russian Public Organization of Veterans of Military Brotherhood, www.bbratstvo.com.

[11] United States Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Russia,” Washington, DC, 19 April 2013; and Human Rights Watch, “Russia: Reform Domestic Laws on Disability Rights,” 4 May 2012, www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/04/russia-reform-domestic-laws-disability-rights.