Protests against the war in Ukraine are still taking place worldwide as thousands of people come to the main streets and squares in Berlin, Tbilisi, Helsinki, Madrid, Tel Aviv, and New York. They bring the flag of the country or wear blue-yellow colors. Recently, in photos from protests alongside the blue-yellow flag, an unusual combination of white-blue-white had appeared. It is said to be created by the Russian online community. However, it is not so easy to track down the creator of the flag. On its website, it is stated that it was invented by many people because such an idea came to many people almost simultaneously. This exhibit tried to represent the voices of Russians, who are against the war. The white-blue-white flag demonstrates the Russian plight to unite and get heard. Besides, due to its simplicity, it can be drawn or sewn easily from available materials.
There is no official interpretation explaining the colours on the present flag of Russia. According to the most popular version, white means peace, purity, and perfection, blue symbolizes faith and constancy, and red refers to the bloodshed for the Motherland with energy and strength. The essence of the new colour scheme is to remove “blood” from the flag. It is also the rejection of the tricolour, which symbolizes the ideas of authoritarianism and military expansion.
The white-blue-white flag is also associated with the city of Novgorod, which was historically considered the center of democracy. One of its projects of the city flag served as an inspiration for the creators, who tried to demonstrate hope for a better free state. It is a symbolic rejection of encroachments on any territorial claims on independent states that used to be part of the Russian Empire. The flag is also getting popular on Internet as more people mention it. The team, which initially created the flag and its website, was sending it to several media people to spread the idea and unite Russians against the war with Ukraine.
Even though the flag has become more popular among protesters, it has also received criticism. The opponents of the flag accuse the creators of plagiarism. They point out the similarity with the flag of the canton of Zug in Switzerland or Veyshnoria, a fictional state created for Russo–Belarusian military training exercise. Some critics also find resemblance with Autozak colors, a vehicle used by the police service to transfer the arrested. However, Kai Katonina, one of the creators of the flag, pointed out that people put meaning into the symbols themselves. She said that “people around the globe have already invested their hopes for peace and freedom in this flag”.
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