Russian Gymnast Investigated For Pro-War Symbol On Podium
Independent TV

A Russian gymnast sparked fury after wearing a pro-Russia symbol while standing next to his Ukrainian rival, who came first place.

Ivan Kuliak was unable to wear Russia's official uniform due to a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes representing their nations over the invasion of Ukraine. He did, however, proudly sport the "Z" symbol on his chest, which has been used as identifying mark on Russian tanks during their attack on Ukraine.

People were outraged, with one saying they couldn't "think of a more disgusting thing to do". They believed there was "no better reason to ban Russia from sporting events altogether instead of current half measures."

Another Twitter user candidly added: "Ban this smug little fascist sh*t from future competition."

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said it opened up disciplinary proceedings against the 20-year-old for his "shocking behaviour" after finishing third in the parallel bars final at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha.

The FIG said in a statement: "The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against Kuliak following his shocking behaviour at the Apparatus World Cup.

"The FIG adopted further measures against Russia and Belarus on 4 March.

"From 7 March, 2022, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not allowed to take part in FIG competitions or FIG-sanctioned competitions."

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What exactly does the symbol mean?

The 'Z' was painted onto Russian tanks and military equipment days ahead of Russia's war on Ukraine.

It has since been worn by politicians, influencers and business people, who support Putin's horrific attack.

The symbol has featured on merchandise and is even being sold by news outlet Russia Today (RT), which has since been taken off air in the UK and banned in the EU.

Others have also suggested the 'Z' symbolises victory.

"Some interpret "Z" as "Za pobedy" (for victory). Others - as "Zapad" (West)," a scholar said on Twitter. "This symbol invented just a few days ago became a symbol of new Russian ideology and national identity."

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