Several German federal states are taking action against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “Z” symbol. Anyone who displays the symbol in Germany can be imprisoned for up to three years. The “Z” is considered a sign of approval for the Russian war against Ukraine. Germany will no longer tolerate any sympathy for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lower Saxony and Bavaria ordered that the public use of the symbol in German demonstrations is punishable. Violators can spend up to three years in prison and receive a monetary fine. North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin are also following suit and are threatening legal consequences.
Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) said that anyone who uses the Z symbol to publicly express their approval of Russia’s head of state Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine must expect criminal consequences in Lower Saxony. “It is absolutely incomprehensible to me how the stylized Z can be used to condone these crimes.”
Bavaria’s Minister of Justice Georg Eisenreich (CSU) warned: “Sympathizers who publicly use the ‘Z’ mark of the Russian armed forces in Bavaria” could be liable to prosecution for approving criminal offenses.
The Letter “Z”
Numerous Russian military vehicles bear the white Z. The letter appeared a few weeks ago on Russian tanks advancing towards Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry stated on March 3, noting that Z stood for Za pobedu, or “For victory.
In Russia, the Latin letter appears in many places in public spaces. Since it does not exist in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, the letter is notably recognized as a symbol. The sign is now being shown outside the war zone to express pro-Russia sentiments. The letter has been printed onto T-shirts, posters, and cars across Russia.
Russian Gymnast, Ivan Kuliak, displayed a white ‘Z’ symbol on his uniform while standing on the podium alongside an athlete from Ukraine after finishing third in the parallel bars final at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
The symbol appeared in place of the Russian flag, which Kuliak had been barred from displaying as he was only permitted to participate in the contest as an independent athlete.
The meaning behind the Z is not clear. Experts suggest the symbol was first used as a unit identification marking to avoid friendly fire between Russians. Another theory says it could be the first letter of the word Zapad, which means west. This could mean the direction of the troop’s movement or tanks are from western parts of the country. While others also see a nod to the Globalist-backed Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose surname is transliterated with a Z in many languages.
According to the U.S. Veteran-run news site, SOFREP, the Letter “Z” represents units in the Eastern Military District. Russians must paint the letters on their vehicles and equipment to avoid friendly fire:
In the U.S. military, most of our fighting vehicles and helicopters are equipped with a radio-based combat ID system so that we can identify friendly forces and not shoot them up. Apparently, Russian tanks, trucks, helicopters, and armored combat vehicles do not, so they are stuck with visual recognition signals to sort them out from the Ukrainian military which is mostly using the same equipment as the Russians.
German Penal code prohibits public approval of Aggressive wars
Bavaria’s Justice Minister Georg Eisenreich (CSU) warned against using the symbol. “Sympathizers who publicly use the Russian Armed Forces license plate number Z in Bavaria” could be liable to prosecution for approving of crimes.
According to the state’s penal code, behavior which is understood as publicly displayed approval of aggressive wars and is likely to disturb public peace is punishable. Also, Minister Eisenreich feels that public support of Russia’s attacks violates the International Criminal Code, which deals with “crimes of aggression.” “We do not accept crimes that violate international law being approved,” said the minister.
Criminalizing Support of Russia
Germany is not the only Western Nation that threatens its citizens with prison for displaying support of Russia. In February, the Czech Republic threatened its citizens with three years in prison for voicing support of Russia.
German and Czech Republic leaders appear to be following in Putin’s footsteps. These Western nations criticize Russia for denying its citizens their rights while simultaneously stripping their citizens of freedom of speech
How long until Germany and other Western countries ban the public display of the letter “V,” which is also widely used on their tanks. The Letter “V” represents the Russian Marines. The Russian Defense Ministry reports that the V stands for Sila v pravde, or “Our strength is in truth.”