Ukraine’s foreign minister has called on countries to ban the use of the letter “Z” as a symbol of the Russian war on his country.
Photo: A T-shirt with the letter Z, which has become a symbol of the Russian military, is displayed at a street souvenir shop in St Petersburg (AP) (cropped)
30 March 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
Two German states have outlawed public displays of the letter “Z,” which has become synonymous with support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Authorities in Bavaria and Lower Saxony said over the weekend that anyone who displays the symbol at public demonstrations or paints it on cars or buildings could face a fine or up to three years in jail, the English-language site The Local reports. And an Interior Ministry spokesperson told reporters on Monday that people throughout Germany who display the letter to endorse Russia’s aggression could be liable to prosecution.
“The Russian war of aggression on the Ukraine is a criminal act, and whoever publicly approves of this war of aggression can also make himself liable to prosecution,” the spokesperson said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
The letter “Z” — which is part of the Latin alphabet but not the Cyrillic one used in Russian — first appeared on tanks and other military vehicles massing near Russia’s border with Ukraine, possibly as a way to distinguish them from Ukrainian forces.
Once the invasion began, “Z” was hard to miss. The letter was featured across social media and was plastered on billboards and stickers throughout Russia. Even outside of the country, the symbol has appeared on clothing.
Its origins may be mysterious, as NPR has reported, but its symbolism is clear: It represents support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, both at home and abroad.
Chapter 140 of Germany’s criminal code recognizes “incitement to crime of aggression” as an offense, according to Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform. The Local reports that there have been displays of “Z” in both Lower Saxony and Bavaria.
In announcing the decision, Bavarian Justice Minister Georg Eisenreich said that freedom of thought “ends where criminal law begins.”
One person quipped that based on this logic, it seems that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should change his name as it contains the letter Z.West’s ban of ‘Z’ symbol a manifestation of its Russophobia
“The Bavarian Public Prosecutor’s Office is taking consistent action against persons, who publicly approve the war of aggression that violates international law,” he said, according to Ukrinform. “Russian President [Vladimir] Putin has launched a criminal war of aggression that is inflicting terrible suffering on the Ukrainian people, so the Bavarian judicial system is watching closely.”
26 March 2022 | Reuters
ZURICH, March 26 (Reuters) – Zurich Insurance (ZURN.S) has removed its Z logo from social media after the letter became a symbol of support in Russia for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The company said it was removing the logo – a white Z on a blue background – because it did not want to be misinterpreted as supporting Russia in the conflict.
“We are temporarily removing the use of the letter ‘Z’ from social channels where it appears in isolation and could be misinterpreted,” the company told Reuters in a statement.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely and will take further actions if and when required,” the company said, following a report by The Telegraph newspaper in England.
The film “Z” is about one of these things: about the assassination, six years ago, of a leader of the political opposition in Greece. It is also about all the rest of them. For Americans, it is about the My Lai massacre, the killing of Fred Hampton, the Bay of Pigs.Film Review: Z
The letter Z has been used as a marking on Russian military vehicles taking part in the conflict and has been adopted by Russians supporting the war, with it being prominent on flags and at pro-Kremlin rallies. read more
Moscow has described its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation.”
Zurich Insurance said earlier this month that it was no longer taking on new domestic customers in Russia and will not renew existing local business. read more
Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Daniel Wallis