The Wall Street Journal: How the letter ‘Z’ became a Russian pro-war symbol

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When 20-year-old Russian athlete Ivan Kuliak stepped onto the podium at the Gymnastics World Cup beside event winner Illia Kovtun, from Ukraine, a barely discernible symbol on his uniform prompted an official investigation into his conduct and widespread condemnation from the international community.

The letter Z — taped in white over Kuliak’s white shirt as he received his bronze medal for the parallel bars at a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday — has emerged for those supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a symbol of pride in the attacking armed forces. In the West, it is being condemned as a sign of nationalist sentiment.

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