West’s ban of ‘Z’ symbol a manifestation of its Russophobia
Published: Mar 29, 2022 12:05 AM
Zurich Insurance Photo: IC

Zurich Insurance Photo: IC

Zurich Insurance has removed its Z logo from social media after the letter became a symbol of support for Russia in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict. The company said it did not want to be misinterpreted as supporting Russia, according to Reuters. The letter Z has been used as a marking on Russian military vehicles taking part in the conflict and has been adopted by Russians supporting the war, the report continued.

The West seems to have gone too far. Apart from Zurich Insurance, some other parts of Europe have also pointed their finger at the letter Z. For example, two German states on Saturday reportedly said they have outlawed public displays of the "Z" symbol used by the Russian army. Two Lithuanian MPs also called on their country to ban displays of the Russian military's "Z" symbol. 

These practices in regard to the letter Z have triggered sneers from netizens. One of them quipped that based on this logic, it seems that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should change his name as it contains the letter Z. 

The West's ban over the "Z" symbol embodies its Russophobia. Since the Ukraine crisis, culture, sports and arts related to Russia have all been impacted. For instance, Russian composer Tchaikovsky has been banned. So are Russian cats. This time, the letter Z is targeted. The West's Russophobia tends to have reached a level of "madness." This is the West bullying Russia in terms of culture. Under such sentiment, any rational and proper voice in the West can hardly be heard.

The West hopes to establish a united front by inciting public opinion in such a way, in a bid to isolate Russia. This is mainly because the West's power, status and international influence are waning and their anxiety toward Russia is increasing. Against perceived threats or challenges, they are not powerful enough to deal with Russia alone and need more countries to stand on their side.

The West's practices are a manifestation of their anxiety. The essence of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is the security contradiction between Russia and US-led NATO. The US and Europe are now trying their best to avoid direct military intervention. This demonstrates that they are worried that if they launch a war with Russia, they may incur disaster upon themselves. 

Judging from the current situation, West's small tricks such as banning the letter Z won't make any impact. How the Russia-Ukraine conflict evolves mainly depends on the real battlefield. It is expected to end with certain compromises, which won't be completely favorable to the West. Western tricks will not disturb the Russians who are clear and determined about their goals.

It is meaningless for the West to play such tricks. The Western public will also be misled by this kind of opinion and sentiment. The Russia-Europe relationship may become thornier in the future. Europe has to face Russia, a neighbor that cannot be moved away. With a strong anti-Russia sentiment from within, Europe needs to cope with rising anxiety and geopolitical complexity. This will do no good to Europe.

The author is deputy director of the Department for Asia-Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn