Canceled Alphabet! Lithuania bans display of letter ‘Z’ on Russian link

Lithuania’s parliament has successfully canceled part of the alphabet, passing a law that will see the symbolic use of the letters ‘Z’ and ‘V’ banned over their links to Russia.

Lithuanian politicians succeeded in canceling the letters “Z” and “V”, making the symbolic use of both illegal due to their links with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The letters have been identified as tactical reconnaissance symbols belonging to geographic army groups in the Russian military deployed earlier this year in preparation for the invasion. The “Z” in particular has become a symbol associated by many with Russian aggression.

Lithuania succeeded in banning the symbolic use of the two letters in a vote on Tuesday, which will also see other Russia-related symbols made illegal in the country.

According to a Euronews report, the new law passed by the country’s parliament bans all symbols that apparently promote “military aggression, crimes against humanity and war crimes”, with lawmakers explicitly citing “Z” as example of such a symbol.

Those found guilty of disseminating such a symbol now face a fine of between €300 and €700, with these figures rising to €600 and €1,200 for business owners who use such symbols.

“There are no more specific provisions on symbols and letters, but the police will have the option of issuing a fine for displaying an even wider range of pro-aggression symbols,” Monika Ošmianskienė said. – the MP who originally introduced the law – who ironically is a member of the Freedom Party.

“This is an important preventive step because Russian war propaganda is not sleeping and looking for different ways to cross our people, to reverse reality, because it has already been perverted in the minds of Russian citizens”, the politician also said in an online post. post where she justified the ban as necessary to ensure the “national security” of Lithuania.

“It is also an expression of support for Ukrainians who are fighting for freedom, as well as those who fled the war who live here,” the lawmaker continued.

Lithuania is far from the only country to ban the symbolic use of the letter “Z”, with other nations heeding the appeal of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Ukraine – which itself has banned a number of opposition political parties since the outbreak of the current hostilities – to “criminalize” the use of the symbol.

Moldova is another country that has reportedly banned the use of “V” and “Z” in symbolic contexts, with the country’s president signing a bill on Tuesday banning such uses of the letters.

Germany has also rescinded the letter “Z”, with federal authorities first warning that there would be legal consequences to using the letter last month.

However, unlike in Lithuania, the German authorities don’t seem to settle for a mere paltry fine, with those seen using the “Z” in a prohibited context risking a prison sentence of up to three years according to the where they are in the country.

“[The] Russian war of aggression against #Ukraine is a criminal offence,” reads a federal government social media account. “Anyone who publicly endorses this war of aggression may be subject to prosecution.”

“This also applies to displaying the ‘Z’ symbol,” the account later clarified, before saying that authorities were monitoring the use of such a letter.

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