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Bill aiming to bar pro-Russian invasion insignia sent to justice ministry

The 'superministry' building in Tallinn houses the finance ministry, as well as the economic affairs and communications ministry, the justice ministry and the social ministry.
The 'superministry' building in Tallinn houses the finance ministry, as well as the economic affairs and communications ministry, the justice ministry and the social ministry. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The cabinet has sent a bill to the justice ministry which would ban the use of insignia showing support for Russia's aggression in Ukraine and put in place provisions to punish individuals who openly did the same.

The bill does not prohibit any specified symbol, but lists the conscious, public display of any insignia which could be interpreted as being hostile in supporting war crimes or intimidating others as being under prohibition.

Critics of the bill in its current form have said both that it is too vaguely worded and that there are no compelling reasons for it being enshrined in legislation.

Representatives of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) have expressed support for the bill, which would need to pass a Riigikogu vote before becoming law, while MPs from the other two opposition parties, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa have opposed it.

The bill is being processed a little more than a month before the annual "Victory Day" procession on May 9, which marks the end of World War Two, both in the Russian Federation and by some Russian-speaking people in Estonia.

One of the most notorious symbols to have arisen in the current conflict, initially used for unit identification and rendezvous purposes by invading Russian forces, is the "Z" character, not found in the cyrillic alphabet, an association which has caused on major insurance firm to remove the character from its social media branding.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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