A Forbes contributor, Paul Roderick Gregory, published an article on Wednesday citing a Russian web source called "Delovaya Zhizn" (translated as Business Life), which was said to reveal "official figures on the number of Russian soldiers killed or made invalids in eastern Ukraine."
The report, dated March 2015 and entitled "Increases in Pay for Military in 2015," was altered, with the relevant information being removed, after the Forbes publication came out. However, the original copy was webcached by Google.
The cache shows that the website, which has articles on Russian finance, markets and leisure, claimed that the Russian government had paid monetary compensation to Russian soldiers who "took part in military actions in Eastern Ukraine."
Without citing a source, the article claimed that as of February 1, more than 2,000 families of soldiers killed in Ukraine had received compensation of 3 million rubles (about $50,000) and those crippled during military action - a half million rubles (about $25,000). It added that another 3,200 soldiers wounded in battle had received compensation of 1,800 rubles for every day they were in the conflict zone.
The Forbes contributor accused "Russian censors" for "quickly removing the offending material."
The Forbes report was picked up by Western media and independent journalists. The International Business Times reported that the Russian article had "accidentally published the leaked figures."
Russia's own KIA figures of Russian military dead in Ukraine apparently (accidentally) revealed http://t.co/Aqa9UCJ5fo— Daniel Baer (@danbbaer) August 26, 2015
An article by The Independent on Wednesday called Delovaya Zhizn a "respected news site in Russia," and cited the head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, James Nixey, who said that the report is a "nail in the coffin" in proving Russia is engaged in military action.
So if number of Russian casualties in Ukraine reported yesterday was fake, what are real numbers? Please post links to best reporting.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 26, 2015
Another media outlet piling on was was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which claimed it had received a response from some Anatoly Kravchenko from Delovaya Zhizn, who said the website had "received the casualty figures from relatives of dead servicemen as well as 'insider information' from the Russian Defense Ministry." However, they added that the website's representative had "declined to identify any specific sources."