Gadsden Flag: Symbol of Resistance in Russia

Masha Gessen reported in The New Yorker today that a Russian judge had ordered the destruction of a Gadsden Flag seized from prominent Putin critic and video blogger (“vlogger”) Yegor Zhukov:

In many of his vlog entries, Zhukov is seated against the backdrop of the Gadsden flag—“Don’t Tread on Me”—which appears to hang in his bedroom in his parents’ apartment. The prosecutor had asked for four years of prison time for Zhukov [convicted of “extremism”]. On Friday, a Moscow court sentenced Zhukov to three years’ probation—an unusually light punishment probably explained by the public response to Zhukov’s speech, which several Russian media outlets dared to publish. Hundreds of people gathered in front of the courthouse on the day of the sentencing. As a condition of his probation, Zhukov is banned from posting to the Internet. The judge also ordered that the flag, which was confiscated by police, be destroyed.

Here is one of Zhukov’s videos, featuring the flag.

Zhukov’s friend, rapper Oxxxymiron, called attention to the case in September with a theatrical production which replicated the room from which Zhukov had broadcasted, including the prominent flag. In the production, balaclava-clad figures enter and seize the flag.

Matthew Luxmoore covering the performance for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes “the Gadsden Flag… is today a symbol for many libertarians.”

In addition to the standard Gadsden flag, a version combining it with the Russian flag has appeared at the number of protests against the government. (For example, it can be seen in this video from September 2018.) Here is a reconstruction by TheFlagAndAnthemGuy on Deviant Art:

Here it is at a large protest on August 10, 2019 (from a post by “The Man” on Political Hotwire, “Don’t tread on me” flag taken up… by Russian liberals?!“.

For many other examples of Gadsden flag modifications, see our blog post on “Gadsdenoids”.

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