Entering the third week of fighting, the international community looks upon Russia and Ukraine and its respective allies in what is to be a potential change in the world order. From the various letters you’ve seen on Russian tanks and military vehicles, the most common one being “Z,” to individuals that have taken center stage around the world quite literally, the war has been full of symbols used for various reasons.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was already famous in Ukraine due to his fame as a comedian, has been known as a heroic symbol of bravery around the world. On the other hand, Russia’s Putin had been touted as the 21st century’s new Hitler, drawing comparisons from deadly Nazi Germany. However, this is not where the comparisons stop.

The letter “Z” drawn on Russian tanks (and other vehicles) used to identify whether the vehicles are friendly or not, as well as to determine what point of origin they came from, are now nationalist, pro-war symbols in Russia. It is drawing comparisons to the Nazi Swastika, a logo still banned in Germany due to its horrid history.

What the “Z” symbol originally meant

If you had been watching videos or had viewed photos of the Russian forces advancing into Ukraine, you’ve probably seen those letters that are crudely painted on Russian tanks and military vehicles. SOFREP’s very own Sean Spoonts wrote about these letters last week and what they might mean. Before being a pro-war logo in Russia, the letters painted on Russian vehicles were used for the following: