Putin faces Russian social revolt after police car with Z sign set alight by activists

Ukraine: Man sets fire to police car

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The Z marking has been emblazoned on military equipment and uniforms of Putin’s army in Ukraine. Ordinary Russians have also taken to displaying the letter as a sign of their support for their President’s war. Z markings have been spotted on cars and on national flags, to name but a few examples.

However, anti-war activists have started to target objects with the pro-war symbol in their recent actions.

A new video posted to social video shows a man setting fire to a white Toyota Corolla, which had a huge Z marking emblazoned on its rear window.

The vehicle was parked next to the local branch of Russia’s Interior Ministry in the city of Rostov-on-Don and belonged to an official of the Department for Internal Affairs.

Film footage shows a man approaching the Toyota and pouring inflammable liquid onto its bonnet.

He then takes out a lighter and torches the car. A small explosion can be heard, which activates car alarms in the vicinity.

The protestors were later arrested by local police and subjected to an interrogation on camera.

An investigator asks the woman, who is pinned to the ground with her hands handcuffed behind her back: “Where did you get hold of the inflammable liquid?”

Initially she refuses to answer, before admitting her husband had obtained it.

In the next clip, the husband also lying prone on the floor, is asked why he torched the car.

The man, clearly under duress, claimed he saw an advert on the internet which was offering money to people who set light to vehicles displaying the Z symbol.

Asked how much the bounty was, he replied he received 15,000 roubles (£214) for the deed.

The sum is a huge amount for ordinary Russians. The average wage in 2021 was calculated at 56,000 roubles or £798 at today’s exchange rate.

Anti-war campaigners have used arson in previous protests against Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

In particular, protesters have targeted army recruitment centres to vent their anger.

A prominent Russian anti-war activist and former campaigner for Alexey Navalny, told the Express that while he did not condone such attacks, he understood they were born of desperation.

Daniil Chebykin explained: “They don’t see any other alternative. There is covert mobilisation even of conscripts.

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“It’s not publicly announced but people are being called up and sent to Ukraine – mostly young people.

“If someone literally has no other choice but to destroy their call up data – which in Russia are mostly stored on paper and not on computers.

“Faced with a choice of either destroying that data and saving yourself and others or being sent to war and potentially being killed within a few months – – then to take that decision to burn down the recruitment offices is a lot easier than to choose to die.

“I don’t condone it, but I understand why they might resort to such measures.

“It’s desperation that leads them to do such things – desperation.”

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