Germany Considers Criminalizing Pro-Russia Symbol "Z"

    Photo: Picture Alliance/Getty Images [via Vice]

    The Facts

    • Germany reportedly might make displaying the letter "Z" in support of Russia's war in Ukraine a prosecutable offense, according to an Interior Ministry spokesperson Mon.

    • This comes after states including Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Berlin banned the symbol, with offenders facing up to 3 yrs in jail or a fine.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This is undemocratic. Citizens have the right to express their opinions, and Germany's response to the conflict in Ukraine must be open to public debate. The decision to ban free speech by criminalizing those supporting Russia is a slippery slope that will only lead to other forms of repression.

    Narrative B

    Freedom of expression is only granted insofar as it doesn't break criminal law. Since Putin has initiated an illegal war against Ukraine, anyone publicly condoning this campaign is supporting a violation of international law and disturbing the public peace in Germany.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    It's hypocritical to ban expressing support for Russia's Ukraine invasion, but not for the US invasion of Iraq for equally unjustified reasons.

    Establishment split



    Sign up to our daily newsletter