Support The Moscow Times!

Russian TV Airs 13M Names of Soviet WWII Casualties Ahead of 75th Victory Day

Rossia 24 said it aims to remember all the heroes of World War II regardless of rank or decoration. russia.tv

A Russian state-run television channel is airing the names of the nearly 13 million Soviet soldiers killed in World War II in the weeks leading up to the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

The project is a collaboration between Russia’s Defense Ministry and Memory of the People, an internet database that documents the conflict that Russia calls the “Great Patriotic War.” By airing the names, Rossia 24 said it aims to remember all the heroes of World War II regardless of rank or decoration, and to create an objective reminder of the true cost of the war.

The 24/7 broadcast began on Feb. 23, also known as Defender of the Fatherland Day, and is timed to end on May 9, when Russia celebrates Victory Day.

The on-air display appears as a black-and-orange sidebar next to the channel’s regular programming and displays 100 names per minute. It will take 76 days to air all 12.6 million names.

Victory Day, which marks the Nazi surrender to the Soviet Union in 1945, is Russia's most important national holiday, with nearly every Russian family losing at least one member in the war. While many Russians see the holiday as a strong source of national pride, critics in recent years have accused the Kremlin of co-opting Victory Day to boost its image and silence criticism.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.