A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry has declared that those displaying the letter “Z” and supporting Russia will be liable for punishment.
According to the statement, the use of the Z symbol “may in individual cases constitute an endorsement of the Russian war of aggression… and [public approval is] liable to prosecution.”
The Interior Ministry also praised the earlier initiative of Bavaria and Lower Saxony to make displaying “Z” a criminal act.
BR 24 (google translation)- Anyone who publicly uses the “Z” symbol of the Russian armed forces in the Ukraine war in Bavaria must expect criminal consequences. The “Z” is an ideological sign, the bearers approved a war of aggression contrary to international law.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a criminal war of aggression that means terrible suffering for the Ukrainian people , said Eisenreich. The Bavarian judiciary is therefore looking closely.
Bavaria’s Minister of Justice sees the use of the “Z” mark as punishable approval
“Freedom of opinion is a great asset of our constitution. Everyone can express their opinion in Germany. But freedom of opinion ends where criminal law begins,” said Eisenreich. Anyone who publicly uses the “Z” license plate number in Bavaria must know that they could be liable to prosecution.
A corresponding provision can be found in Section 140 of the Criminal Code: It deals with the approval of certain criminal offenses – including the approval of the crime of aggression. According to Section 140 of the Criminal Code, there is a risk of a fine or imprisonment of up to three years.
Idea of Russia’s eternal resistance to the West
According to the official Russian source, the letter stands for “Za Pobedu!”, In German: “To or for victory.” War observers, however, see the “Z” as the symbol for this war and the ideology that fuels it.
“Z” also stands for Zapad – and the hot west, says political scientist and lawyer Vladimir Pastukhov, who worked for the State Duma and the Russian Constitutional Court. “We are dealing with an ideological war based on this paranoid idea of Russia’s eternal resistance to the West,” said Pastukhov.