19 Apr 2022 17:00

Moldova bans St. George's ribbons, Z and V symbols - Sandu

CHISINAU. April 19 (Interfax) - Moldova's President Maia Sandu has unveiled a new law which bans the use of the St. George's ribbon and the Z and V symbols as used by Russia's military.

"I have today promulgated a law banning the use of signs symbolizing war and aggression. This does not affect our historical memory. On the contrary, we must further honor and respect the memory of those who died in the most dreadful war of the 20th century. At least 100,000 citizens of Moldova perished in that war. For the sake of their memory, we must preserve peace and social harmony," Sandu told a briefing.

She stressed that the law did not ban the celebration of V-Day.

"No one bans or is banned from celebrating May 9. On the contrary, it is our duty to remember the victory of civilization over fascism and Nazism. We must honor the memory of those who brought peace on earth. Regrettably, war has now returned to Europe. And we all see what signs are being used in Kharkiv or in Mariupol, and in devastated Bucha," Sandu said.

The president warned politicians against speculation and provocation, asking them to maintain the country's neutrality and to seek an end to the special military operation in Ukraine.

It was reported that Moldovan parliament had passed a ban on the St. George's ribbon and the Z and V symbols which are used by Russian troops in Ukraine. The legal changes were favored by 53 parliamentarians from the ruling Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS).

The amendments "ban the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, and public use of the commonly known attributes and symbols used in the context of acts of military aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the propaganda or glorification of such acts." The following are classed as commonly known attributes and symbols: colored/information flags, ribbons and ribbons (the black and orange bicolor ribbon), emblems (graphics, letters or digits and combinations thereof), lapels, uniforms, slogans, greetings, and so on.

Violation of the ban will entail a fine of 4,500 - 9,000 leu ($250-$500) or unpaid community service of 30 - 60 hours for individuals, and a fine of 9,000-18,000 leu ($500 - $1,000) for legal entities and state officials.

The parliament's decision was challenged by its members from the Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BECS) at the Constitutional Court. The Court has yet to make a pronouncement on the matter.

The Russian embassy in Chisinau has commented on new Moldovan legislation banning the public display of the St. George ribbon, arguing that this decision "complicates movement toward peace and friendship."

"The cancel culture phenomenon being promoted by Western society, aimed in this particular case at ceasing to cherish and defend the memory and devaluing the heroism of our ancestors, among them glorious representatives of the peoples of the former Soviet Union, including the current Republic of Moldova, is destroying the foundation of historical truth and justice," the embassy said in a statement published on its social media account.

The Moldovan authorities have attempted "to create a new invented reality of those events based on an ideological attack on moral norms," which "deprives our peoples of the right to have veracious historical memory and complicates the movement toward peace and friendship," the embassy said.

"As before, we will hold and venerate as sacred the symbols of the Soviet soldier's Great Victory in the Great Patriotic War," it said.