The Webinar – The State of Global Energy – is only 1 week away!

Peter will deliver his analysis and forecasts for regional energy production and his assessment of geopolitical risk—everything from war, to instability and regulatory risk—with an eye on challenges and opportunities facing global production and supply.

Please join us on Friday, May 10th at 12:00 PM EST.

The Russians are playing dress up with their tanks and it might reveal where the future of military conflict is heading. Okay, “dress up” might not be the right term, but just google a picture of the Russian turtle tanks to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

These tanks are being equipped with heavy armor to defend against the drone attacks that have become popular in the Ukraine War. This innovation reflects a larger shift in warfare strategies, as countries like Ukraine have had to come up with new (and cheaper) ways of striking targets.

Innovations like the turtle tanks are a great example of the adaptations in modern warfare. However, as aid and support hit Ukraine, we’ll likely see a new round of innovations emerge onto the scene.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.


Hey everybody. Peter Zeihan here. Coming to you from snowy Colorado. Today we’re going to talk about a military, innovation on the Russian side of the Ukraine war. You guys may have seen some of the videos and the photos, but they have something that’s now called a turtle tank, where they take a tank and they put it in this turtle like shell of armor that covers the entire thing. 

to the point that the turret can’t even rotate. the idea is to make it relatively drone proof. it looks silly. And obviously some of the earlier iterations were destroyed quickly. but the Russians have continued to innovate it because they need it. It’s serving a very real battlefield purpose. So perhaps because of what happened with the U.S. Congress, it’s been months since the Ukrainians have gotten meaningful military assistance from the United States. 

And in that sort of environment, they’ve been forced to go kind of a do it yourself program. and so instead of relying on more traditional things like tanks and missiles, long range drones and artillery, they basically can cranking out thousands, tens of thousands of anti-personnel drones that only weigh a couple pounds, every month. And while one of those is probably not going to take out a tank, you know, a couple that get to the right spot can maybe damage or tread and immobilize a vehicle and then allow other methods to go in and take it out. 

Well, in that same sort of environment, if they don’t have a lot of artillery, then the Russians can mass forces and make big pushes into Ukrainian positions. The turtle tank is a way for the Russians of dealing with both of those issues. So if there isn’t a lot of artillery, then the tanks can be in clusters with infantry and get a lot closer to the Ukrainian positions more or less safely. 

and then by putting all this shell of armor on it, the anti-personnel mines can’t damage the treads. No matter how many you throw at it, you’re still might be some gaps in the armor because, you know, you have to be able to see. But, it’s a much different situation where the Ukrainians would have to throw two or 3 or 400 things at one tank in order to stop it, as opposed to just a half a dozen before. 

In addition, the Russians are putting protection on the bottom of the tank so they can serve as kind of slapdash, mind clearing devices as well. So the idea is you take a couple these turtle tanks and push directly into Ukrainian positions, going right through the mines that the Ukrainians have dropped, basically ignoring the anti-personnel drones that’s getting thrown at them. 


And then behind those tanks, you have vehicles that are carrying infantry. So it’s designed to basically provide direct access to the Ukrainian positions. And all the while, the Russians are hitting these Ukrainian positions with artillery and glide bombs. So it’s not a stupid strategy at all. the question is whether it is sustainable, whether it’s going to be necessary in the future. 

A couple things to keep in mind here. We are kind of in a position like we were in the U.S Civil War with a whole new raft of military technology is becoming available, and we’re seeing how they do and do not mesh with the technologies. Oh, we already had. So regardless of what you think of either side of the Ukraine war, studying how both sides are adapting to this new reality is something that is going to educate us all on the nature of military conflict moving forward. 

So this is a big deal. And what the Russians are doing is they’re basically inventing a new style of warfare, whether or not this specific type of weapon system is going to last. probably not. The only reason that the turtle tank is viable is because Ukrainians don’t have artillery. And now that the US Congress has finally acted and weapons systems are being flown in at most, most, first and foremost, including a lot of artillery shells. 

You should expect things like this to just be lit up as targets, very soon. So this specific weapon system might not be the harbinger of things to come, but it’s certainly representative of a whole class of weapons systems that are going to be invented from scratch or during the remainder of this war. 

Recommended Posts