Old Man’s War

Ukraine as a culture and a people are going to cease to exist in a couple of generations regardless of what Russia does. It was for this reason that I did not believe that Ukraine would fight so hard against the Russians. Why would a nation that was going extinct voluntarily react so strongly to the loss of their sovereignty? I never figured that so many only sons would lay their lives down with their soon to be childless mothers cheering them on. This was one of the things on my mind when I stated in my last post that I have been almost completely wrong about the human element of the Ukraine War.

But being wrong about the human element does not change the underlying demographic realities that I based my opinion on. And those demographic realities have consequences even if people don’t react to them like I think they will.

Below is the what the current demographic structure of Russia looks like (you can click on the picture to get a bigger view). Pay careful attention to how many people are between the ages of 16 and 26 compared to the number of people between the ages of 30 and 40.

By Rickky1409 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Compare the above graphs with the one below (again you can click on it to get a better view). The below graph is what Russian demographics looked like before the Germans invaded. You can see they had a large cohort of young people just waiting to come on-line and get thrown into the meat grinder.

By Rickky1409 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

But the above demographics are still messed up. That is because Communists are bad people and they had a great famine followed by a great terror. The below is a more natural population pyramid and it comes from 1929 which is just before the commies really messed things up with famines and terror. It still has a gap in it from Word War 1, but it is the type of population pyramid that the idea of mass conscription was built around.

By Rickky1409 – From excel file, CC BY-SA 3.0

We have been looking at Russia because it is easier to get historical data. But Ukraine is practically the same. If anything the disappearance of the youngest children is even more pronounced but that may be because Russia has more ethnic minorities still having kids.

By sdgedfegw – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

If you really want a dramatic demonstration of the destruction of the Ukrainian nation (prior to anything the Russia did) click on the below GIF.

By Kaj Tallungs – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

This is why when you see videos of the combatants in this war it is striking how many of them are in their 30s or 40s. Neither nation has a choice. If they sent masses of 18 year old’s like the US did in Vietnam, they would not have enough to make a proper army. Even Russia, with its much bigger population, would be at risk of destroying its future if it only sent young people to battle. And Ukraine likely has to destroy its future and pull in older men just to have a chance at staying in the fight.

Long term, it really don’t matter what happens on the battle field. Neither nation is going to be around (at least as we know them today) for very much longer. If you look at the very bottom of both countries population pyramids, there is next to nothing there and that will carry forward into the next generation after that and so on on and so forth. It will only take a couple of generations of that for both nations to have next to nothing in terms of population. And the war will only speed that process along.

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