Cope Cages on Russian Tanks during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Cope Cages

Part of a series on 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine. [View Related Entries]

Updated Mar 10, 2022 at 11:09AM EST by Zach.

Added Mar 07, 2022 at 01:41PM EST by Owen.

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Related Explainer: What Are Cope Cages? Memes About Slat Armor Amidst The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Explained

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Cope Cages refers to a slang term for slat armor, also known as an RPG cage, made for Russian T-90 tanks and other vehicles in the 2021-2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict. Though slat armor is used by many armed forces for a variety of military vehicles all around the world, the term "cope cages" became the subject of memes in early 2022 to make fun of the Russian military and its efforts to overtake Ukraine, mostly due to their ineffectiveness against weaponry used by Ukrainian troops such as the Javelin missile. The nickname is also in reference to the Wage Cage and Copium memes.


On November 23rd, 2021, Twitter[1] user Alex Kokcharov, a London-based Country Risk analyst focused on Russia and Ukraine, posted a tweet that attached a reposted TikTok video from a now-deleted user. Kokcharov stated in his tweet that the video was taken in Russian-occupied Crimea and shows a Russian tank fitted with what looks like a type of slat armor over its turret specifically designed to protect against top-down attacks like one from a Javelin ATGM, referenced in pro-Ukrainian imagery like St. Javelin. The tweet (shown below) earned roughly 164,100 views and over 500 likes in four months.

Also on November 23rd, 2021, Twitter[2] user Michael Kofman, the Director of Russia Studies at CNA, also posted imagery of cope cages on Russian tanks, referring to it as, "armor adapting to counter Javelin ATGM." His tweet (shown below) earned over 380 likes in the same amount of time.

Michael Kofman @KofmanMichael I think for evidence of Russian armor adapting to counter Javelin ATGM, particularly this year, I would point to the space to mount a thermal emitter on an extended snorkel. 438 53 8 5:56 PM · Nov 23, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone

On December 23rd, 2021, a journalist named Thomas Newdick wrote an article for the news outlet The Drive[3] titled, "Ukrainian Troops Test Javelin Missile Against Russian Cage-Style Improvised Tank Armor," which gave further information about the mounting evidence of Russian tanks fitted with anti-javelin slat armor. He stated in the article that the Ukrainian military was performing tests on the slat armor using their Javelin missiles, releasing the videos to Facebook.[4] Newdick linked the armored tanks seen in the video (shown below) to the one in Alex Kokcharov's tweet.[1] Newdick went on to note precursor tank slat armor used in the conflicts in Libya and Syria and in Iraq to protect against RPGs. In comparison, Newdick noted that the Russian armor alone is "unlikely to offer substantial protection against an advanced anti-tank guided missile of this kind."

On November 27th, 2021, an image of a Russian tank with slat armor was posted to /r/NonCredibleDefense by Redditor POD-8 who received over 280 likes in 3 months. In the comment section of the post, a since-deleted Redditor commented, "Cope cage?" earning 11 upvotes in three months.[10] The comment (shown below) is the first known use of the term.

Posted by u/POD-8 3 months ago Russia's new anti drone and loitering munitions 287 armor 2 + Award A Tip .. 46 Comments Share Sort By: Best v View all comments [deleted] · 3 mo. ago Соpe cage? 11 Reply Share Report Save A Tip Follow


On February 26th, 2022, Twitter[5] user oryxspioenkop posted a TikTok screenshot showing a Russian tank with slat armor after it had fallen off a bridge, captioning the screenshot, "Looks like the ‘cope cage’ doesn’t protect Russian tanks against driving off bridges," and earning roughly 2,800 likes in one week (shown below).

Oryx @oryxspioenkop ORYX Looks like the 'cope cage' doesn't protect Russian tanks against driving off bridges. 13.4К 1082 Share @игорь 3:42 PM · Feb 26, 2022 · Twitter for iPhone

The term continued to spread over the following days as Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022. For example, on February 26th, Twitter[6] user Frannnnnnnnnco posted a meme that captioned a photo of a cope cage-fitted tank with, "Copium Cage," earning over 120 likes in one week (shown below, left). Users on 4chan started making memes and discussing cope cages en masse on the 26th. For instance, a thread was started on the /k/[7] messageboard that included multiple cope cage memes, one featuring Crying Wojaks behind cope cages in reference to the Wage Cage meme (shown below, right).


On March 4th, 2022, Redditor altosalamander1 posted a video to /r/NonCredibleDefense[8] showing multiple Russian tanks that were purportedly destroyed by Javelin missiles and other large explosives. The post (shown below) earned over 670 upvotes over the course of three days.

On March 5th, 2022, users on 4chan's /pol/[9] messageboard photoshopped cope cages onto images of Russian President Vladimir Putin, mostly putting them on his head as if he was a T-90 tank (shown below).

Various Examples

T-90 A 2 layer cage for cucked penetrator pathetic w*stern javelin tandem warheads t- turret where????? xopowo glorious, room temperature t-72 (with turret attached) seething NATO virgins 2,5kM extended cage for ground protection "boing 3KM

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Sir Trollsalot
Sir Trollsalot

"Users on 4chan started making memes and discussing cope cages en masse on the 26th. For instance, a thread was started on the /k/[7] messageboard that included multiple cope cage memes, one featuring Crying Wojaks behind cope cages (shown below, right)."

It's referencing to this:


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