Putin = War Criminal
- Apr 18, 2013
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- Political Leaning
‘Z’ How Russia transformed a letter of the Latin alphabet into the official (and ominous) symbol of its invasion of Ukraine — Meduza
The first photos and videos featuring Russian military vehicles with an unknown marking on their sides appeared on social media several weeks before the start of the war. Most often, it was the letter Z, either inside of a box or without it; there were also V’s. The letters were most likely...
The first photos and videos featuring Russian military vehicles with an unknown marking on their sides appeared on social media several weeks before the start of the war. Most often, it was the letter Z, either inside of a box or without it; there were also V’s. The letters were most likely tactical markings referring to Russia’s various military districts. Then, in a matter of days, Z and V (but especially Z) essentially became the official symbol of Moscow’s “special military operation.” The Defense Ministry’s PR department was working together with Russia Today and its editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, said the source with ties to the presidential administration. The TV channel’s designers allegedly developed the symbolism and Defense Minister Shoigu approved it. “Simonyan took on the initiative. President Vladimir Putin was familiarized with it, too. According to one of his aides, he liked it,” the source told Meduza. RT’s designers, who work under Simonyan, really did develop the visual identity for “operation Z.” The network’s website has been selling merchandise with the Z logo, stylized to look like crudely applied white paint, since February 26.
The sources close to the Putin administration who talked to Meduza spoke negatively about the name “operation Z” and its symbolism. “As a political strategy, it’s simply awful,” said a consultant who advises the administration, arguing that the letter Z on its own carries no meaning, “People don’t get what it is or what it’s supposed to mean.” “It looks like an ad for Zelensky,” he said. Another strategist noted that Z is not a Cyrillic letter while the invasion is supposed to be about “saving the Russian world.”
Beyond the Russian military's use of the Z symbol which is probably a tactical designation, it seems the Kremlin's marketing of the Z in Russia is the work of Margarita Simonyan, the editor in chief of RT/Sputnik and one of the Kremlin's cheif propagandists.
She apparently had RT visual artisrts come up with the styized thick white brushstroke Z now popular in Russia. Most Russians have no idea what it signifies (intended to signify support for Putin's "special military operation" in Ukraine).