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Virtus.pro’s Pure draws pro-Russian ‘Z’ symbol in DPC game

Political activism has been a prevalent force in esports for many years now — players and teams making moves to show support for causes that they believe in. Many praised the Hong Kong Hearthstone player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung for his support of Hong Kong a few years ago. However, that has not been the case with Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko.

The Carry player of the Russian esports organization Virtus.pro’s Dota 2 roster has come under fire for drawing a ‘Z’ symbol — a drawing common with pro-Russian sentiments. It was drawn on the game’s minimap during an official game — Virtus.pro’s first against Mind Games for the DPC Pro Circuit EEU 2021/2022 Tour 2: Playoffs.

Many decried the move as very insensitive during the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian commentator Vitalii Nikolaevich “v1lat” Volochai was someone who’s comments gained traction, stating he hoped punishments would be levied on Pure. “So this is what you get in game when you allow players from orgs that support the war in Ukraine to play in a tournaments”, v1lat stated. “Pure, Virtus Pro player, draws a Z symbol in game. Symbols that support the war and the Russian army killing Ukrainians They should be banned. Indefinitely”.

Pure soon apologized for the move — featured in a video explaining his side of the story on Virtus.pro’s social media account. “I’d like to comment on the incident that occurred during game 1 vs Mind Games,” Pure stated. “There was a long pause in the game. The guys and I were talking and drawing on the minimap. When we realized what exactly my drawing turned out to be, we tried to cover it up. I didn’t mean to offend anyone, it all happened by accident. Peace to all.” Some fans commented that the manner in which he drew the symbol — drawing the bottom part of the symbol too short before correcting it to a full ‘Z’ — points to the conclusion that Pure’s drawing was fully intentional.

The organizers of the DPC Pro Circuit EEU 2021/2022 Tour 2: Playoffs — Beyond The Summit (the original organizers were supposed to be Epic Esports Events up until this month) have stated that they are looking into the situation and have been in talks with Valve on how they should respond.

Images via Virtus Pro.