23rd March 2022 – (Hong Kong) Louis Vuitton recently launched a new Fine Jewellery collection known as LV Volt where the initials joined together to form a character similar to Z. The new campaign starred Alicia Vikander, a Swedish actress who has won various awards, including an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award and nominations for two Golden Globe Awards and three British Academy Film Award In the past few weeks, Z has gone from a military marking to the main symbol of public support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The new collection has attracted many criticisms from netizens who are against the Russian invasion but it also received support from Russians who posted Russian flag emojis under the comment section.
The timing of the launch of the campaign was questioned by many netizens even though Louis Vuitton might have planned the collection earlier. In of the campaign photos, Alicia was even showing a hand gesture to signify the letter ‘Z’.
According to the Guardian, open source analysts and military experts first spotted the mysterious Z-shaped letter hand-painted on Russian tanks and military trucks massed on the Ukrainian border on 19 February, leading to widespread speculation among western experts as to what the letter meant.
As Russia’s invasion began, more military hardware was spotted emblazoned with Zs, as well as other letters, including O, X, A and V. The letters seen on the hardware were usually framed by squares, triangles, and other painted shapes. As a letter, Z does not exist in the Cyrillic Russian alphabet; rather, a letter resembling the figure 3 represents the “z” sound.
The most popular theory used by military experts to explain the letters is that they were written according to the respective areas where the Russian troops are usually stationed, with Z potentially standing for Zapad (west). The Russian defense ministry itself has not commented on any of the theories, and instead posted on its Instagram channel that Z meant Za pobedu (“for victory”) and V stood for “power of truth”.