The Russian war in Ukraine has at various points been framed in Russia and in Western media outlets in ethnic terms. Given that Russia is itself a multi-ethnic state, this led me to wonder what percentage of Russian military forces are ethnically Russian, and what percentage are other (non–ethnically Russian) citizens of the Russian Federation? Are there statistics available on the various forces' ethnic composition?
This article suggests that Russia's "peripheral subjects... are Putin's cannon fodder." Historically, many empires relied on subjugated ethnic groups to continue their imperialist expansion; is the same thing happening today?