This year Winter Bash incudes balalaika and matrioshka, symbols of "Russian Federation", which Ukrainian Parliament has officially recognized as an Aggressor State and State Supporting Terrorism.

Also, Ukraine has condemned and banned any kind of promotion of Nazist and Muscovian aggressive regimes. Their symbols are illegal on the territory of Ukraine.

Russia Kills logo
A popular "Don't buy Russian Goods" movement depict Russian goods using "Marioshka" as symbols of Russian aggressor: Wikipedia. Also, balalaika, lapti, samovar, and wooden outdoor toilet are used in this context.

Although balalaika and matrioshka are not official Nazi/Commie symbols, they are clearly associated with Aggressor State, along with official ones, promoting state-sponsor of world terrorism, legitimizing its aggressive ideology and its imperialistic expansionism.

Question: What can be done to exclude terrorist symbols — either globally on Stack Exchange or on Ukrainian Language.SE site?

Цьогорічний Winter Bash включив до списку «досягнень» балалайку і матрйошку, символи «Російської Фєдєрації», що Верховною Радою України офіційно визнана державою-агресором і державою-спонсором тероризму.

Окрім того, Україна засудила і визнала незаконним будь-яке прославляння нацистського і московського агресивних режимів. Використання символів цих держав є незаконним на території України.

Популярний рух «Не купуй російське!» використовує «матрйошку» як символ російських товарів (також часто зустрічаються балалайка, лапті, самовар, дерев'яний вуличний туалет і т.ін.)

І хоча балалайкі і матрйошкі не є офіційним нацистськими/комуністичними символами, вони також мають пряму конотацію до країни-агресора, нарівні з офіційними, пропагуючи країну-спонсора всесвітнього тероризму, легітимізуючи її агресивну ідеологію і її імперіалістичний експансіонізм.

Питання: Що можна зробити, щоб виключити терористичні символи — або глобально у мережі Stack Exchange, або, щонайменше, на сайті Ukrainian Language.SE ?


  • Maybe I'm wrong, but IMHO this is a bit too far. I agree that we should not tolerate symbols of anybody's (especially Russian) military aggression — but I don't think that matryoshka and balalaika are those. They're part of R. civil culture, but I don't think they really relate to R. militaries. Many Ukrainians nowadays feel awful when seeing/hearing anything related to R., but this is not very rational. For WWII, we blame Nazis, not Germans. In Ukraine, matryoshka and balalaika aren't prohibited (only Nazi and Soviet symbols are, but not German and R.).
    – Sasha Mod
    Dec 16, 2020 at 14:41
  • And from practical perspective: taking into account that matryoshka and balalaika aren't prohibited even in Ukraine (they are depicted in negative way by some prominent paintings (e.g. the one encouraging voluntary boycott of made-in-Russia products), but not declared as antisymbols officially), I doubt that we can convince the whole SE. Still, you can try. Maybe I'm wrong and we really should (but I doubt).
    – Sasha Mod
    Dec 16, 2020 at 15:09

3 Answers 3


If you have a customizable ad blocker like uBlock, you can add rules to filter them out:


(copied from my answer here)

This blocks the images (also for users who are wearing these hats):

enter image description here

You can probably tweak the filter to remove/hide them entirely from the Winter Bash 2020 homepage if you want.

  • 1
    IIUC, this is per-user solution. But what can happen is that a user perceiving these symbols negatively but not knowing in advance about all that Winter Bash stuff, will get one of that hats as a prize for his contribution (like 10 constructive close/reopen votes or etc). The user will feel frustrated. (I personally am quite tolerant to such stuff, but many people aren't. And the problem (for a one who cares) is IMHO not in seeing such hat on others, but in the fact that these symbols act as signs of praise.) But, anyway, thanks.
    – Sasha Mod
    Dec 17, 2020 at 15:21

Не можу пригадати балалайки і матрйошкі у попередніх Winter Bash (можливо, просто не звертав уваги). Але якщо це «нововведення» цьогорічне, то дуже важко пояснити ситуацію чимось іншим, окрім інфільтрації ворожих агентів навіть сюди.

Я бачу три можливі лінії нашої поведінки, і вибір залежить від (1) інформування спільноти і (2) бажання спільноти досягти результату.

  1. Найбільш боягузливий — мовчки проковтнути і нічого не робити
  2. Закрити очі — модератори можуть вимкнути Winter Bash у межах одного сайту
  3. Домагатися скасування терористичних бейджів — вимагає великої роботи усієї спільноти на чолі з активно діючими модераторами.
  • Pro druhe. Jaki moderatory, naci? Jakctco tak, to mogna potcaty z tsjoho, a takog namahaty sja vykonaty tretje. Dec 16, 2020 at 15:59
  • @stegetsj, наскільки я можу судити, модератори UkrSE не можуть вимкнути Winter Bash у межах одного сайту.
    – Sasha Mod
    Dec 16, 2020 at 16:11
  • 1
    @Sasha, я можу помилятися щодо можливості вимкнути, бо востаннє бачив це три роки тому і міг запам'ятати неправильно. Dec 16, 2020 at 16:15

About matrioshka and balalaika

Matrioshka and balalaika are neither symbols of Russian militaries nor the symbols of current Russian regime. They are just elements of Russian culture. I don't think we should overreact them.

At least, in that way they're perceived by the most of the world. (Some even (I suppose, wrongly) assume matryoshka to be a positive symbol of the whole East European and/or Slavic culture — this is probably wrong, but, I suppose, many in Western countries think in that way and we can't make them change their opinions instantly.)

While, due to the events of the recent years, many Ukrainians feel angry/sad when seeing/hearing anything related to Russians — but this, to be honest, is not constructive. For WWII we blame Nazis, not Germans. Similarly, I think, for the recent events we should blame specific regime/politicians, not all Russians.

About our actions

  1. I don't think that we should insist or even plea to change Winter Bash hats on the whole Stack Exchange.
  2. Never-the-less, given that many Ukrainians (and thus many visitors of this site) perceive these symbols negatively, it may be reasonable to disable these hats (or the whole Winter Bash?) specifically on the Ukrainian site.

However, for the second, I see technical and other obstacles:

  • Technical: as a moderator, I don't have control over enabling/disabling specific hats and/or the whole Winter Bash on the site. (Even more — AFAIK, hats are global, not per-site, so, I suppose, even higher-level moderator/administrators might be unable to do site-specific changes in hats.) Of course, we can write a plea to global meta, but…

  • Other: AFAIK, we have critically low amount of visitors (especially active ones). (This is actually much larger problem by itself, than negative hats in Winter Bash, but may it interfere with the hat-stuff too.) Typical responses I foresee are:

    • “you are so small/unsuccessful, why do you expect us to do any changes for you?”,
    • “this site has so low activity that probably no one will ever reach these hats until the end-date of Winter bash (Jan-5, IIRC), so why do you care?”

    (of course, nobody will say it directly, people are polite here, but we should understand that Stack Exchange is not a charity organization, and our site probably already brings more expenses than benefits for a long time).

Never-the-less, if common opinion on UkrSE would be “to write”, then I will write.

I would write something like:

We understand that these symbols (matrioshka and balalaika) aren't evil per se, but, against the backdrop of recent history events, they may be perceived quite negatively by significant part of Ukrainian community.

From logical point of view it may be quite irrational, but people are not 100%-logical, they have feelings, and we should respect the feelings of our visitors.

We don't plea for StackExchange-wide changes but only for changes that would be local for Ukrainian Language SE. Is it possible:

  • either to remove these two hats,
  • or to replace them with some other (we can suggest ideas, provide paintings and etc),
  • or to disable Winter Bash on this specific site?

(I actually am afraid we can get more negative effect than positive — i.e. that it will cause paying attention to our low popularity rather than Winter Bash changes — but if community thinks we should submit it, I will.)

Upd. This answer got 1 upvote, 0 downvotes and 0 comments. The question itself, despite being “featured”, got 2 upvotes and 1 downvote. So it looks like either there's really not many people here, or people here don't really care about this matter — in either case, IMHO, it makes not much sense to write a plea to the Stack Exchange. (And the most upvoted answer here is about personal (not site-wide) adjustments.) I don't give up my words, if I see a public demand on this topic, I'll submit a plea, but I don't see it.

Upd 2. After watching how Winter Bash goes, I think this topic is overreaction. Stack Exchange isn't focused specifically on the Russian symbols (as one may thought), it contains plenty of (public and secret) hats referring to cultures of various nations (e.g. Hanafuda, Kitsune, Wa-boushi (Japanese), Bûche de Noël (French), Milliner (originally Italian), etc); and, besides that, as I've said before, aforementioned Russian hats are just elements of Russian culture, not symbols of Russian militaries and/or of specific regime.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .