The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) had to request 'several' drivers arriving in Estonia over the weekend to stop displaying symbols which could be interpreted as supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Last week, the PPA had revoked the visas of some of those doing the same.
Narva's PPA department posted on its social media account that it had had to approach several drivers crossing the border into Estonia who were displaying the orange-black Ribbon of St. George in the interior of their vehicle to remove the display on the grounds of their being a potentially provocative symbol in Estonia, in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
An earlier incident last Thursday saw a trucker barred entry into Estonia (at a border crossing in South Estonia - ed.) for both exhibiting insignia glamorizing the war in Ukraine, from a Russian perspective, and for 'justifying' the recently discovered Bucha massacre.
Indrek Püvi, Narva PPA chief, said that such symbols, including the infamous "Z" character as well as the Ribbon of St. George, have no place in the public arena in Estonia, as they can disrupt public sense of security and have a provocative effect.
Püvi said: "We are paying more attention to the use of symbols that promote war, and we are talking to those people who exhibit them explaining that their meaning has changed since the beginning of the war."
All those approached on the matter have complied and removed the symbols from public display right away, Püvi added.
The PPA has stepped up its monitoring of the display of provocative symbols or slogans relating to the war in Ukraine, ahead of a law currently being processed at the Riigikogu which will outlaw such activities.
The authority had also last week revoked several visas from entrants displaying pro-invasion paraphernalia.
While the "Z" symbol arose in the current war, the orange-black St. George's ribbon not only predates it but has its roots in the Tsarist era, with the colors supposedly representing fire and gunpowder. The ribbon is often on display on "Victory Day", May 9, marking the end of World War Two and thus marrying the Tsarist period with the Soviet regime that brutally overthrew it*, but in any event will likely also be outlawed ahead of this year's anniversary. The ribbon also adorns many official military medals awarded during the Tsarist era, the Soviet era and the present-day Russian Federation alike.
*In fact overthrew a provisional government of liberals which had in turn replaced the monarchy a few months earlier.
Editor: Andrew Whyte