Moldova said that St. George’s ribbons, which are used to commemorate the victory over Nazism, will remain banned
People who wear St. George’s ribbons, a hallmark of WWII victory celebrations in Russia, will face fines in Moldova, the nation’s prime minister, Dorin Recean, warned on Thursday. His comments came following a Moldovan Constitutional Court ruling on the issue that sparked a controversy.
“The decision of the Constitutional Court changes absolutely nothing compared to May 9, 2022,” Recean told journalists, referring to the annual Victory Day celebrations held on May 9 in Russia and most other former Soviet republics.
“These symbols are prohibited,” he added, referring to the orange and black St. George’s ribbon, as well as the letters ‘V’ and ‘Z’, which are now closely associated with the ongoing Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
The Moldovan parliament banned the symbols last April as promoting what it called “Russian aggression.” According to Recean, the nation’s Interior Ministry and the national police were “preparing all necessary regulations” to allow law enforcement to record “violations” of the law and punish those defying the rules.
Neither the exact measures nor the amounts those found in violation would have to pay have been announced yet. Recean’s comments came some two weeks after the Moldovan Constitutional Court ruled that it first must be established that the symbols in question were used for the purpose of justifying or glorifying “the actions of military aggression” before a person can be fined.
Some public figures, including members of the opposition Socialist Party, interpreted the court’s decision as lifting the ban on the ribbon of St. George and other symbols, the Moldovan media reported, adding that such an interpretation sparked confusion and prompted the authorities to intervene.
The court issued a clarification a day after publishing its decision, saying that it “did not ‘reinstate’ or ‘legalize’ the wearing of the orange-and-black ribbon and other symbols.” The judges ruled that “banning the use of these symbols is constitutional,” it added.
Under the law signed last year, an individual found in violation of the ban could face a fine of up to 9,000 lei ($2,009). An entity would have to pay up to 30,000 lei ($6,696) for the offense, while a public official would face a fine of up to 18,000 lei ($ 4,018). According to the Moldovan media, more than 300 people were fined for wearing the ribbon last year.
Moldova is a former Soviet republic of 2.6 million that is sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania. The country has charted an increasingly pro-EU course since President Maia Sandu came to power in 2020. In December 2022, she called for a probe into a concert that featured children singing Soviet songs from World War II, calling it a “threat to national security.”
April 28, 2023 at 02:24AM