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What in the World?

Russia is already prepping for the next war after Ukraine

Jun 14, 2022


As the Russian army’s onslaught continues to eat up more territory in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin may already be prepping for Russia’s next war. He’s also continuing to try and justify his invasion. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan says Putin is doing so to prepare the Russian people for what could potentially be the next war effort.

Excerpted from Peter’s June 13, 2022  “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given another of his…heavy-on-the-revisionist-history speeches. This time, he categorized the Great Northern War–the 18th-century conflict that saw the Tsardom of Russia successfully challenge Sweden for Baltic superiority–as one where Russia “reclaimed” such territories as Estonia and Latvia. As with Moscow’s claims that places like Ukraine have always been a part of Russia, this is just simply not true.But reality isn’t the point. Or rather, the Russian president is delivering a Russian “reality” to the bulk of the Russian people. This is primarily an insular conversation, where a strongman is trying to justify a war of expansion. But it also sends a warning to a Sweden and Finland that have already moved ahead to join NATO: we have beaten you in the past, we consider much of your neighborhood as properly our own, and don’t sleep too comfortably in your beds at night. The latter might be a projection of Putin’s, or Russia’s, strategic anxieties but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss them out of hand. As seen in the graphic from my first book below, the Russia of today is not what we’d consider geographically secure. It is not an island power detached from mainland squabbles like Japan or the United Kingdom. Nor is it a mountain fortress like Iran. Russia is a vast territory–difficult and expensive to secure–and its more densely populated western core features multiple invasion routes for those who would be so inclined.

map of the Eurasian Hordelands

We will continue to post our analysis and updates on this and other topics related to the Ukraine War. This newsletter and its affiliated videologues are, and always will be, free. New subscribers can sign up here. Finally, a reminder: Russia’s strategic shift from thunder runs to a civilian obliteration has already forced ten million Ukrainians from their homes, with nearly four million now living in limbo in foreign lands. All proceeds from all formats of all of our previous books are being donated to the Afya Foundation, a charity which provides medical assistance to refugees from the Ukraine War. The buttons below will direct you to our purchase pages where you can both find out a bit more about each book, as well as select purchase options ranging from e-services to your local bookstore

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Hello, everybody. Peter Zeihan here. It’s time to do a fresh update on the Ukraine war, largely because Vladimir Putin on June 9th gave one of his, um, slightly off the rocker speeches again. And in this one, he was referring to the great Northern war of 1700 to 1721 when Russia was part of a coalition that went to war to break Swedish power in Northern Europe. 

At the end of the war, the Russians ended up with chunks of territory that include modern-day Estonia and the bulk of modern-day Latvia. Anyway, in the speech, Putin proclaimed that when this war happened, it wasn’t that Russia was seizing territory; it was that Russia was reclaiming territory that was already Russia’s. Now this is an extraordinarily creative, falsified view of European Russian history, as well as the, the war in general. These territories had never been Russian before, but that’s not the point.


The point is that strongmen when they go on wars of expansion, generally try to justify their tactics in order to generate popular support in a nationalist upwelling. And in that, Putin is not remotely unique at all. So it’s worth looking back, not just at the great Northern war, but at the war we’re in right now in Ukraine to understand what it is that the Russians are actually after, because you’re gonna see more of these speeches moving on and they will give us an idea of where the Russians are prioritizing their offensives. 

So the Russian territories in the greater Moscow area, going from Eastern Europe into Western Siberia, they tend to be flat. They tend to be cold. They tend to have short growing seasons. The soil is not particularly fertile and they don’t get reliable rainfall. All that adds up to relatively low output of agricultural stuff per acre, which means that the Russians can’t have a very dense population footprint.

Well, that makes the territory almost impossible to defend because normally, you would try to hunker down between a couple of geographical barriers. They don’t have those, or you would rely on the density of your population to provide a resistance. They don’t have that, either. So Russian strategy from the beginning has been to expand beyond the core Russian territories until they can reach a series of geographic barriers that are difficult for invaders to cross. The Russians then plant static forces in the gateways between these barriers to prevent invaders from hitting them. During the Soviet Union, with which was the height of the Russian people’s security, the Soviet system controlled every single gap leading into the Russian core. Well, when the Soviet union collapsed, they lost all but one of them and everything that the Putin government has been doing with foreign affairs since the year 2000, when he became president, is to try to rebuild that forward position.

Now, this is difficult for a number of reasons. The single biggest one is if you add up the populations of all the countries that control all of the territories between where Russia’s core lands are, and these gaps, you’re talking about of a combined population that is significantly larger than that of Russia itself.

Ukraine is not in control of any of those gaps. But they are on the road to the two biggest ones in Northeastern Romania, known as the Best Arabian Gap and then of course, the Polish gap of Eastern Poland. That’s ultimately where the Russians are trying to get to. And now with this new speech, Putin has made it very clear that the Baltic coast is in play as well because Estonia and most of Lavia were the territories that the Russian seized or in his words, reclaimed in the great Northern war of 1700 to 1721.

So like I said, creative call. But to give you an idea of how seriously the Russians are gonna take this, that seizure of Estonia and Latvia predates Russia’s full assimilation of Kiev by a half of century, and Putin has had absolutely no problem selling his lies on Ukraine to the wider Russian population. So he’s just right now working on the next lie in order to prepare the Russian people for the next war. Okay.

Some, just a couple general updates. First of all, the book comes out tomorrow, June 14th. So the end of the world is almost here. The title is “the end of the world is just the beginning.” It talks about all of the future economic sectors. What they’ll look like once globalization is gone and how everything is going to remake itself on the other side of the slide that it’s already in progress.


If you have found this video or any of our videos or newsletters useful, I strongly suggest that you give a donation to the Afya Foundation, which is providing medical assistance to the Ukrainian refugee community. There are four ways you can help. First of all, all three of our original books, the absent superpower, the accidental superpower, and disunited nations, any sales from any three of those books in any format, all proceeds are going to Afya for now. So if you buy the book, we will make the donation for you. Second if you wanna give a cash donation direct, just go to their website, AFYA It’s pretty self-explanatory process from there.

 Third, the AFYA Foundation is great. One of the reasons we chose it is because they have a very low administrative overall overhead, and almost all the donations go specifically to get the equipment to where it needs to go. And the bulk of that equipment is donated from hospital surplus or expired stock. So for any of you who happen to have a hospital connection, we have attached a flyer from AFYA that instructs how folks can get the product to AFYA so that they can then get it onto Ukraine. Uh, it’s a great program that puts things to work that would normally just end up in the trash. And then fourth. And finally, Amazon has worked with AFYA to build a wishlist for the equipment that they have not been able to source in specific volumes. So you can just go to the link that is below this video and peruse the list, enter in the number of bits of product, throw it into your cart, just like you’re making a normal purchase and it will go to AFYA automatically. All right, that’s it for me until next time.


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