Dhe Swiss insurance group Zurich is eschewing its company logo with the capital letter “Z” in the context of the war in Ukraine. “We are temporarily removing the use of the letter ‘Z’ from social channels where it appears isolated and could be misunderstood,” the company confirmed on Sunday. The logo can still be seen on the Group’s website.
The letter has become a symbol of war in Russia. Russian military vehicles used in the war against Ukraine are usually marked with a white Z.
However, the letter does not appear in the Russian alphabet. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the character represents the motto “For victory”. The “Z” is stamped on many cars in Russia. On social media, celebrities also include a capital “Z” in their names. In the field, the brand probably also has tactical purposes, not just propaganda, because military vehicles belonging to the warring parties are difficult to distinguish.
In the sights of politics
Politicians now also point to the “Z”. For example, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia is examining the criminal consequences of using the Z symbol in public. “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which violates international law, is causing untold suffering. I do not understand how these crimes can be shared or condoned,” NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) told the Rheinische Post. “That is why we in North Rhine-Westphalia are examining all possibilities of criminal prosecution. against the use of the Z symbol by the Russian military”.
The use of the “Z” symbol of the Russian armed forces will also be prosecuted in Berlin. “If the context of war is created by the use of the white Z, as can be seen on Russian military vehicles, then of course that means advocating a war of aggression,” said Interior Senator Iris Spranger ( SPD) to the Tagesspiegel (Online): “That would be punishable, we will intervene immediately.” Lower Saxony has also announced that it will punish the public use of the symbol. Therefore, the basis is paragraph 140 of the Criminal Code, which makes the approval of certain crimes a punishable offense. Up to three years in prison or a fine are possible.