Any driver can be found guilty of publicly displaying the symbols of extremist organizations, at least according to the motorist who was fined for this in Moscow. As the Zelenogradsky District Court reported this week, citizens Logvinova and Pashutina were brought to justice for the white-blue-white flag on the license plate. According to RIA Novosti, one of the defendants explained sedition by ignorance: the paint on the license plate could wear off or fade in the sun. The court did not heed the arguments. According to a press release, the citizen “demonstrated to pedestrians passing by the symbolism in the form of a flag, which is the official symbol of the Ukrainian armed formation “Legion“ Freedom of Russia ”, which is banned in Russia itself and recognized as a terrorist organization. The convict escaped with fines – 2 thousand rubles for symbols and 2.5 thousand for disobedience to the police. Social networks have written about such cases before, but RIA Novosti calls this the first such fine.
Do flags on license plates often fade? Moreover, so that the red color fades, but the blue does not? Sergey Kuznetsov, an auto expert, owner of the Landavto car service network, comments:
“Naturally, they fade, peel off. I won’t say it’s fast. It all depends on where the car is going, how it is going. If he constantly drives along the track and sandblasts it, or is constantly in some kind of dirt, or drives through the forests, there is a physical impact, a mechanical one – the paint fades or is somehow damaged.
Regardless of the reasons for the appearance of the wrong flag on the license plate, recognition of it as prohibited attracts attention. The white-blue-white flag was circulated last spring as a symbol of protest against Moscow’s actions in the conflict. Symbols with the same combination of colors are used by a number of organizations recognized in Russia as terrorist, extremist or undesirable. In addition to the “Legion”, this is the “Congress of People’s Deputies”. However, both depict the flag with variations: one with a shield and an inscription in the center, the other in the form of an open book. At the same time, the colors themselves are currently not banned. For example, the official flag of the Sosnovo-Ozerskoye settlement in Buryatia looks like three equal stripes of white, blue and white. Actually, even police cars are painted in white-blue-white.
But maybe it’s still better to play it safe and just cover up the flag on your license plate? Gleb Vilensky, member of the Board of Directors of the Delta Assistance Group, does not recommend:
“You got me so interested in this issue that I went and looked at the numbers on my car, which were received about 20 years ago. I was surprised to find that they look like new. Maybe the manufacturing quality of these number plates has changed in recent years, it happens. And, of course, I have seen a lot of worn license plates, when dark colors become barely visible. As far as this mass phenomenon, I find it difficult to say, no one has conducted such studies. But this is definitely a provocation on the part of the traffic police. If we talk about illegibility of numbers, it concerns letters and numbers. If at least one letter or number on the license plate cannot be read from a certain distance, then the number is considered unreadable. But how exactly the concept of “changed number” is defined by law, I’m afraid no one will answer, here law enforcement practice is important, which is absent today. Therefore, law enforcers can interpret this norm in different ways.”
Making changes to the license plate yourself may attract the attention of the police, but the flag on the plate is optional. As Autonews points out, the law only determines the size of the plate, the allowed numbers and letters, the designation of the region of registration and the presence of the inscription RUS. The traffic police issues all signs with flags, but Russian car owners can turn to private companies to make a duplicate without a flag. According to the portal, a set of two new signs will cost several thousand rubles. Finally, for the replacement of a faded sign, you can contact the traffic police itself. The main thing is that at the entrance to the building the driver is not detained for the symbols of a banned organization.