Controversy over Putin and Pro-Russia Products in Belgian Store

2023-12-07 11:03:00

The store, “Rue de Maroseyka, offers items bearing the image of President Putin, as well as t-shirts bearing the letter Z, which has become a symbol of support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The letter was displayed on many Russian army vehicles from the start of the war, and has since been taken up by Kremlin propaganda.

A first video was published in December on social networks. Two men of Ukrainian origin visit the store on a hidden camera. Since then, the manager has received numerous threats and the store has been marked with hostile tags on several occasions. In front of the RTL cameras, the owner does not understand the problem, and does not hide her pro-Russia positions. “The letter Z? It’s from the French alphabet and it’s also the Z from the movie Zorro. A very nice Z,” she responds to our colleagues, sarcastically.

Faced with the threats, however, the manager decided to withdraw the controversial articles and filed a complaint.

The Ukrainian community in Liège laughs much less. “We should absolutely remove it and put it on the same level as the swastika,” said Belgian of Ukrainian origin Helena Schapowal, president of the Ukrainian women of the Liège section, to RTL.

For the Liège police, aware of the situation, there is no offense. Showing support for Russia or Putin is not wrong, as long as there is no incitement to hatred or to killing Ukrainians. No complaint has been filed.

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