‘Z’ has quickly become a pro-Russia symbol throughout the ongoing conflict in Ukraine with many referring to it as a Russian swastika. The symbol has appeared on military vehicles since the beginning of the conflict and though its precise meaning is unknown, it is becoming more prevalent as an image as supporters put it on their cars and clothing.
On the weekend, Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak wore the symbol on his kit as he accepted his bronze medal alongside Ukrainian athlete Illia Kovtun who won gold.
The International Gymnastics Federation condemned Kuliak’s actions during the ceremony at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha.
‘Z’ as a letter does not exist in the Cyrillic Russian alphabet and so its meaning is not definitive but many believe it could stand for victory or for the location of the military vehicles.
Galina Starovoitova Fellow Kamil Galeev said: “Z is a letter that the Russian military are putting on their vehicles departing to Ukraine.
“Some interpret Z as Za pobedy (for victory). Others – as Zapad (West)”.
Ms Galeev added that it is now “a symbol of new Russian ideology and national identity”.
The symbol, a white Z inside a box, is featured on military vehicles fighting on the front line to indicate to those around the allegiance of the military troops within it.
The retail giant caused outrage with its new products priced between £10 and £20.99 with the advert’s description clearly stating “Russian military”, “Russian Z symbol” and “Military armed forces”.
Activist Andy Kinsey said: “AmazonUK care to take this down? Or are you supporting Russia? Seems to be one of a number of similar shirts available”.
Poverty Action CEO, Graham Whitham said: “Saw a post saying you can get Russian ‘Z’ branded clothes on Amazon.
“Didn’t believe it, but turns out you can. Disgusting. Take them down Amazon FFS”.
Amazon have since confirmed that the products will no longer be on sale.