How ‘Z’ became a symbol for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Washington Post
March 09, 2022

A new pro-Russian symbol is emerging as Moscow continues its assault on Ukraine. The insignia is bold, recognizable and — importantly, according to some analysts — can be painted with one stroke: the letter “Z.”

It first caught the world’s attention when it was spotted on military vehicles clustered along the Russian border with Ukraine in the days ahead of the invasion, which began on Feb. 24.

But it has since been appearing across Russia: spray-painted on buildings, printed on T-shirts, plastered on billboards and brushed onto tanks. Even children are forming Z-shaped lines at schools. Experts say it has quickly become a distinctive symbol of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine...

“It is clearly propagated by and organized by the state with the purpose of creating a sense of broad public support for the invasion,” said Henry E. Hale, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

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