Russian losses in the first year of the war in Ukraine by Jonas Oesch

Russia paid a heavy toll for its invasion of Ukraine. This article recounts the first year of Russian losses. It shows how Russia replaced its whole army with new soldiers in one year. This is what war analyst Henry Schlottman estimates: 109 000 dead or injured in the first year of the war. His estimates stem from recorded vehicle losses, death notices, Facebook posts, and data extrapolations from similar conflicts. At multiples points in time he cross validated his numbers with those published by different organizations like the CIA.

Drawing on these estimates, this article portrays how each month thousands of soldiers dropped out of the war while thousands entered it. The numbers of lives involved are staggering and run the risk of becoming an indistinguishable mass. To avoid this, the vertically scrolling flowchart is populated with thousands of tiny shapes that make the areas look like battlefields. The objective is a sort of double vision: presenting the grand entirety while consistently reminding readers that they are witnessing people.

To create the visualization a range of tools and techniques were used. Altair was employed for chart plotting, Figma to make the shapes more organic and to define the density of soldiers. Observable was used to randomly place the tiny forms and simulate who would drop out. Finally, the whole chart was put together and made into a vertical scroller with Svelte.

The famous Minard map served as an inspiration and was adapted the reality of the war between Russia and Ukraine, where Russia has constantly been replenishing its troops with new soldiers to replace those lost or wounded in action.