George's ribbon to be banned in public events in Latvia

On September 17 the Saeima in the first reading approved the ban on the use of St George's ribbon in public events, meetings, walks and pickets.

Law annotations point to Russian aggression in the east of Ukraine, where the black-and-orange-striped George's ribbon became a symbol of Russian activities. It is used by “terrorist groups in East Ukraine and by supporters of Russian aggression throughout the territory of the former USSR”.

The ban is expected to diminish the public's perception that the Latvian state authorities do nothing to limit the spread of totalitarian ideology in the public space, as stated in the annotation.

“In my opinion, the use of this symbol humiliates our country,” said Artuss Kaiminš, Non-attached Member. He also promised to clarify this ban in the Saeima's responsible commission and how it should be enforced.

The ribbon of Saint George is a Russian military symbol which has come to be used as an awareness ribbon for commemorating the veterans of the Eastern Front of the Second World War. It is controversial in post-Soviet countries due to its association with Russophilia and Russian irredentism.

The law currently prohibits use of totalitarian symbolic in public, including flags, arms, anthems, Nazi swastika, the SS runes, hammer and sickle, along with the five-pointed Soviet star.

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