The Kremlin received nearly 42,000 complaints in April from the relatives of soldiers missing in Ukraine, investigative outlet iStories reported Thursday.
Official data revealed that President Vladimir Putin’s administration received 41,666 requests related to missing or captured soldiers.
The Russian government has not released any official figures on its Ukraine death toll since March 25, when it said that 1,351 men had died during the conflict.
An independent investigation by iStories has since placed the toll at over 3,000, based on publicly available data from local authorities and social media.
“The types of people who write to the president are usually loyal, but apolitical,” Abbas Gallyamov, political consultant and former Putin speechwriter, told iStories.
“These are ordinary people… with a traditional mentality and belief in a kindly patriarchal tsar.”
Gallyamov suggested the figure only accounted for some of the family members currently searching for missing or captured soldiers.
“Most of them don’t write to anyone, they don’t really believe that the authorities will do anything good for them,” he says.
Kremlin data did not indicate how many of the complaints had been processed, or whether any definitive answers had been provided to those affected.
Ukraine said it held approximately 600 Russian prisoners of war as of early April. According to Kyiv, more than 400 soldiers have so far been exchanged with Moscow in 14 prisoner exchanges. Moscow has not released its own figures.
One prominent soldiers’ rights organization, the Union of the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia, said it has received “several hundred” applications asking for information on missing servicemen.
(C)MOSCOW TIMES 2022