An Epidemiological Analysis of Terrorism-Related Attacks in Eastern Europe from 1970 to 2019

Derrick Tin, Dennis G. Barten, Krzysztof Goniewicz, Frederick M. Burkle, Gregory R. Ciottone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Over the past five decades, Eastern Europe has seen relatively little in terms of terrorist attacks. The recent escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict has, however, placed a new spotlight on the region, and new questions and concerns around war, conflict, insurgency, and terrorism are being posed. The Russian invasion and extensive combat operations, the largest in Europe since World War II, are occurring across Ukraine where there are 15 active nuclear reactors, not including the Chernobyl site, that are vulnerable to attack or sabotage. In addition, Eastern Europe has been heavily affected by COVID-19, exposing broad vulnerabilities in an otherwise fragile health care system. This raises concerns over the ability of Eastern European health care institutions to absorb surge and manage terrorist attacks or acts of violent extremism. This study provides an epidemiological description of all terrorism-related fatalities and injuries in Eastern Europe sustained from 1970 - 2019. Method: Data collection was performed using a retrospective database search through the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). The GTD was searched using the internal database functions for all terrorism events which occurred in Eastern Europe from January 1, 1970 - December 31, 2019. Years 2020 and 2021 were not yet available at the time of this study. Primary weapon type, country where the incident occurred, and number of deaths and injured were collated. Results were exported into an Excel spreadsheet (Microsoft Corp.; Redmond, Washington USA) for analysis. Results: There were 3,901 terrorism-related events in Eastern Europe between the years 1970 and 2019, inclusive. In total, the attacks resulted in 5,391 deaths and 9,538 persons injured. Explosives were the most commonly used weapon type in 59.2% of all attacks in the region, followed by firearms in 27.6%. Conclusion: From 1970 through 2019, a total of 3,901 terrorist attacks occurred in Eastern Europe, inflicting 5,391 deaths and 9,538 injuries. Of those, 72.3% occurred in Russia and Ukraine. Terrorist attacks sharply declined since the peak in 2014, but there is an overall uptrend in attacks since the 1970s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-473
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital and disaster medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Eastern Europe
  • conflict
  • counter-terrorism medicine
  • disaster medicine
  • war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


Dive into the research topics of 'An Epidemiological Analysis of Terrorism-Related Attacks in Eastern Europe from 1970 to 2019'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this