Several German states want the pro-Russian Z symbol to be punishable. Senator for the state of Berlin, Iris Spranger, told the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel on Monday that the Z symbol in specific contexts equates to the approval of war and aggression.


“That would be punishable by law, and in that case, we will intervene immediately,” said Spranger.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Z symbol has been used to express support for the war in the country. The letter has quickly become a pro-Russian symbol. Many Russian army vehicles participating in the battle in Ukraine are painted with the letter. Why is it not clear? Possibly the Z stands for the word “zapad”, which means west. This can indicate the army district where the troops come from or the wind direction in which the attack takes place.

Georg Eisenreich, the justice minister of the southern German state of Bavaria, said on Friday that the criminal law allows prosecution of people who defend certain crimes, including violent crimes. “The war that Russia is waging in Ukraine is against international law and is criminal,” said the minister. “The Public Prosecution Service takes action against anyone who expresses ideological support for that war.”

The state of Lower Saxony has also announced that it will also criminalize the symbol. The city of Stuttgart is also in favour of such a ban, as is the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. However, the state’s refugee minister, Joachim Stamp, said on Twitter that the symbol should be banned throughout Germany.

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