Analysts and military experts first discovered the hand-drawn “Z” symbol on the backs of Russian military tanks and trucks massed on the Ukrainian border on February 19, opening the door to speculation by Western experts who wondered what the symbol meant.
The British newspaper “Guardian” (u Sr HR) touched in a report to the story of this character that appeared since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, and put Russian athletes on their shirts, and then widely circulated social networking sites, and raised many theories regarding its origin and meaning.
This letter, which is not found in the Russian alphabet, was seen in the early days of the war on more Russian military equipment, as well as other letters such as “or” (.),”X” (.),”E” (.) and”V” (.), usually framed by squares, triangles and other shapes.
According to the paper, the most common theory used by military experts to explain the messages behind these symbols is that they were written according to the areas where Russian troops are stationed, with the meaning of “Z” possibly short for “Zapad” (Zapad), which means “West” in Russian.
In turn, others believe that these symbols were painted in an attempt to avoid friendly fire, and some pro-Kremlin Russian military experts have speculated that the letter “Z” refers to the name of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the letter “V” (V) to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on any of these theories and instead posted on its Instagram channel that the symbol “Z” means the Russian word “zap pobedo” (Za pobed), which means “for victory”, and the letter “V” (.) means “the power of truth”.
The Guardian reported that in the past two weeks the symbol “Z” has turned from a military sign into a key symbol of public support for Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
Just 3 days after the start of the war, the Kremlin-funded state television network RT announced on its platforms that it was selling goods bearing the symbol “Z”, including T-shirts and jackets, to show support for Russian troops.
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Photos and gatherings
Since then, Russian authorities have organized countless rallies across the country where young Russians have been seen wearing “Z” T-shirts to show their support for the war, drawing the letter on large Soviet-era apartment complexes and hanging on street signs.
Some schools have posted pictures of children in the form of “Z” in support of the war, and Russian local officials have even been keen to show their support for the military operation by changing the names of their areas and including the letter “Z”.