Moscow Lawmaker Critical Of Ukraine War Says Door Marked With 'Z'

MOSCOW -- A Moscow city councilor and outspoken critic of Russia's invasion of Ukraine says her apartment door has been marked with a Z-shaped sticker bearing the slogan "Collaborator. Do not sell out the Motherland" in an attempt to intimidate her.

Lyusya Shtein placed a photo of the sticker on Twitter on March 31, which also contained numbers of articles in Russia's Criminal Code that call for punishments of up to 15 years in prison for distributing "false news about use of Russian armed forces."

Since Russia launched its unprovoked war against Ukraine, Shtein is one of the few politicians to voice public dissent against the move.

Two days before, similar stickers were stuck to the doors of the apartments of prominent Russian rights defender Oleg Orlov and the author of the Protesting MGU Telegram channel, Dmitry Ivanov.

Many Russian military vehicles and tanks have been marked with the letter Z during the ongoing invasion, with the insignia becoming an increasingly ubiquitous symbol of support for the war, for the military, for the Kremlin's policies, and most of all for President Vladimir Putin.


However, many in Russia and abroad have grown increasingly concerned about the often aggressively brandished symbol, which they see as a fascistic emblem of state-mandated blind loyalty and a militarized society.

Although the Russian military has not explained the use of the letter, analysts believe it is used to indicate forces from the Western ("zapadny") Military District.

Other vehicles bore different symbols that seemed to refer to the Eastern, Southern, and Central military districts.

The markings helped distinguish Russian equipment from similar equipment used by the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as to clarify lines of command.

In recent weeks, police dispersing anti-war rallies across the country have started drawing the letter on their helmets.