What the Symbol Z Means for Russia Now
When we hear the terms “Russian troops,” “Russian army” or “Russian aggression,” most of us immediately think of the symbol ” Z.” We then try to remember which symbol represents the Ukrainian troops, but nothing comes to mind.
Why is this? Why is the symbol “Z” for Russia?
The first obvious answer is simply the intent to distinguish “one’s own” from “others” and to avoid friendly fire. However, even if this were the purpose of this character, it was not achieved! Remember the news on March 4 that the Russian army engaged in a tank battle against their own? The results were the destruction of 9 tanks and 4 armored personnel carriers!
Another obvious explanation is that symbols are needed for unity, as with national symbols such as coats of arms, anthems and flags. Russia feels the need to unite their people. Finding common values, purpose and ideology is difficult, but inventing a symbol is a much easier solution.
Or at least, it would seem so. In Russia, this has been called into question. The ” Z ” symbol is not unique to Russia. They “borrowed” it from the emblem of the 4th SS Motorized Police Division. Russia did not even create its own swastika, but stole it.
However, this detail seems to have been considered irrelevant as the Ministry of Defense confirmed on its Instagram page. They claim that the meaning of this Z is taken from the Russian phrase “Z and victory.”
The question is why, despite being “great and mighty” (русский я зык ), there is no symbol for the Russian army in the Russian alphabet.
The use of the “Z” symbol, which represents the Russian troops from the Eastern Military District, , when paired with the “V” symbol, aims to unite the people “for victory.”The “V” means the marines represents “for the truth” ( from “The Power of V Truth”).
The “Z” effectively influences the “right” audience, as expected by the Russian authorities. First, Russians see it everywhere (in the subway, in TV commercials, in certain blogs), so they understand its use as national symbol.
What aids its effectiveness?
“Correct” information campaign.
What are Russians most proud of?
The victory of 1945.
What was first associated with it?
St. George’s ribbon, which Ukrainians had to see every May 9, and which the Russians wear with great pride.
If there is an opportunity to manipulate people’s feelings, we can be sure that Russia will use it. And so the “Z” appeared in the colors of St. George’s ribbon.
The question remains, how far will Russia go to make a new St. George’s ribbon out of Z. Hardly anyone would be surprised by just how far that is.
For most of us, it would be unthinkable to involve children in any advocacy campaign because :
- it is immoral to force children to do something by imposing certain views and ideas on them. Additionally,
- it is clear that the propaganda campaign wants the audience to believe that the children themselves decided to take part. As a result, the action haszero persuasiveness.
This reminds us that the propagandists of this country never claimed exceptional “morality.” Furthermore, all independent information resources are banned, so residents can only watch Russia-24 and ” Channel One.
Nevertheless, we have seen that even terminally ill children near the hospice line up to form the symbol “Z” in Russia .
What thoughts does such an action provoke? It is unlikely that anyone would support Russia’s annexation of the territories of an independent state “for the sake” of sick children.
Most likely, this elicits opinions supporting an end the war, which not only takes the lives of similarly ill Ukrainian children, but is also rapidly sending Russia into an economic crisis. All the country’s money is going to the army despite the economic crisis of its health care system. The sanctions imposed on Russia for its military aggression may prevent those sick children from receiving necessary medications .
This example shows that the “Z” symbol represents how manipulative Russia can be. It will do anything to achieve its goals, no matter how unreasonable they may be.
Another highly discussed example is the use of the ” Z” symbol by Ivan Kulyak at the Gymnastics World Cup on March 2-5 in Doha. This example illustrates that the symbol is accepted by the Russians as a national symbol. Kulyak claims to have acted in response to Ukrainians who bore Ukrainian flags and shouted “Slava Ukraini!”
Moreover, it represents Russia’s international isolation. Many Russians are still outraged at the government’s suffering under sanctions, the revocation of the right to compete in international sport competitions and the international companies leaving the Russian market and depriving people of their products. Kulyak clearly voiced their indignation.
However, others may be happy that Ukrainian Ilya Kovtun came out of that competition with gold, while Ivan took bronze.
The war elicits the same reactions. It is only a matter of time before the Russian swastika gets the same ban on the German swastika.