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Current Affairs

Significance of “Z” symbol on Russian military vehicles

Date: 14 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous


Russian military tanks and trucks are roaming around the country sporting a “Z” marking painted on their sides.



This is not the only instance when the sign has been flaunted. Russians supporting the invasion have been wearing dress with the sign.



  • There is no clarity about the intention of the sign. Some say it stands for "Za pobedy" (for victory). Others say it as "Zapad" (West).

  • The symbol has gained popularity after the invasion. Many supporters of the current regime are putting the sign on the sides of their vehicles without force.

  • Many observers say that the sign act as signals to fellow Russians to identify their own vehicles in the warzone and avoid friendly fire.

  • It may have also been used for communicating location of vehicles or a unit and implying Russian identity and ideology.


Origin of the symbol

  • The symbol appeared first on February 22, on Russian vehicles that entered the Donetsk region.

  • It was also observed on vehicles in Crimea, when it was annexed by Russia in 2014.


Other symbols

Apart from “Z”, symbols such as triangle with two lines on either side, a circle with three dots inside and a large triangle with a smaller triangle inside have also been observed.