In Russia, the letter "Z" began popping up on the back of cars and commercial vehicles, Russian tanks and military trucks stationed near the Ukrainian border several weeks ago.
Some corporate logos and newspaper names that contained the letter also manipulated it to highlight the Z. An advertising campaign using billboards in large cities featured a large Z created out of a black and orange ribbon, the St. George ribbon, which is a symbol of the Russian military.
Not only the letter Z but there was also O, X, A and V on the vehicles and military hardware across Russia.
While there are many theories doing the rounds on what the letter could imply, one theory has been claiming that the letter Z stands for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy while V stands for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Interestingly, neither Z nor V exists in the Cyrillic Russian alphabet.
Another belief is that the letters could be a signal for Russians to identify their own vehicles in the warzone and avoid friendly fire. Another argument says that the symbol is a way of identifying the company of vehicles or their destination during the war.
The Russian defence ministry has also posted stylised graphics of the letters Z and V on its Instagram page. However, no definite explanation on what the letters stand for has been provided.
Whatever the reason may be, the letter Z is becoming a totalitarian symbol to support Russian troops involved in military operations with Ukraine. People have been spotted flashing the symbol across the country and on social media.
In Russia, the governor of the Western Siberian region of Kuzbass, Sergei Tsivilyov, said he would change the name of his region and add the letter Z in the middle.
On social media also, many have come forward to compare the Z with the swastika, the symbol of Hitler's Nazi Germany.