Russian Man Jailed for Insulting Boy Over Militarist Symbol

Published: 11 June 2024

Z-symbolZ-symbol was emblazoned on Russian military vehicles amid the Ukraine invasion. (Photo: Roede, Wikimedia, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

In a contentious case in Russia, a court sent a man behind bars for three years because he insulted an 11-year-old boy who wore a hat with an embroidered letter ‘Z’ which symbolizes support for Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. The boy’s father is fighting there.

Alexander Neustroyev will serve his sentence in a penitentiary colony and was fined 7,000 Russian rubles (approximately US$77.50) for “hooliganism with the threat of violence motivated by hatred,” the Oktyabrsky District Court of Yekaterinburg stated Monday.

Citing various sources, the Russian independent human rights watchdog OVD-Info reported that in April last year, Neustroyev insulted the boy by aggressively telling him to put his hat in a highly inappropriate place.

He bluntly stated his disbelief that the boy wore the hat when it was not even cold outside and told him that this was stupid.

At first, Neustroyev was reportedly fined for hooliganism with a court-ordered settlement and had to publicly apologize to the boy. However, pressure from local war supporters prompted a criminal proceeding against him, ultimately leading to a three-year jail sentence.

According to OVD-Info, more than 900 people in Russia have been targeted with criminal charges for daring to speak out against the country’s war with Ukraine.