Moldova Recognized the Flag of Imperial Russia as Extremist

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Judge Maria Alexei fulfilled the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS). These institutions demanded that the flag with three horizontal lines of white-yellow-black color, promoted by the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin as a symbol of the ‘New Russia’, be recognized as extremist. This flag was hoisted in Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014, and some military units still have it. Similar flags are also used in Comrat during pro-Russian demonstrations. In October 2022, the Venice Commission noted that the authorities in Chisinau had done the right thing by banning symbols of the Russian war in Ukraine - the St. George’s ribbon, the letters “Z” and “V”. The commission’s experts concluded that the law banning these symbols met the requirements of legality, legitimacy and logic. The Venice Commission considered that the introduction of such a restriction on freedom of expression was a pressing social need and that the display of such symbols used by the Russian army during the aggression against Ukraine “might pose a real risk of unrest and a threat to national security and the right of people, including Ukrainian refugees in the country”. The experts also considered it appropriate to introduce audio-visual restrictions preventing the broadcasting of certain Russian propaganda programmes. The parliament voted in favor of banning on the territory of Moldova symbols that propagate war - the letters “V” and “Z” and the St. George’s ribbon. The Criminal Code provides for a fine of up to 9,000 lei and 30 to 60 hours of community service for violating this law.