The MiG Corporation said its employees held a rally to support Russia’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.
“On March 15, employees of the Sokol Nizhny Novgorod Aircraft Building Plant, a branch of UAC-subsidiary MiG, held an action to support the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and residents of Donbass,” MiG Corporation said in a statement. “About 50 people, expressing their civil position, lined up in a symbolic letter Z in front of the building of the main factory entrance,” the company added.
The Sokol Aircraft Plant was founded in 1932 and is also known as "Aviation Plant Nr. 21." During 45 years of serial production, the plant manufactured about 13,500 combat aircraft including MiG-29s, MiG-31s and Yak-130s. The Sokol company is seen as the future manufacturer of MiG-35 jets.
So what is this ‘Z’?
Russian tanks, artillery and trucks deployed to Ukraine sport mysterious markings such as ‘Z’ painted on their sides, either by itself or enclosed by a white triangle, square or circle. Other symbols — such as a white triangle with two lines on either side, red triangles, white circles, white triangles and white slashes — have also been spotted on some of the vehicles.
The Russian Defense Ministry posted on Instagram last week that the symbol came from the Russian word За победу, which begins with a “Z” and means “for victory.”
While some observers suggest the markings are identifying signals to fellow Russian troops in order to avoid being victimized by friendly fire; others have speculated that these could identify what company the vehicles are a part of, or where they are supposed to be headed in the event of an invasion.