Russian Dota player disqualified from a pro-game for drawing a pro-Russian ‘Z’ on the minimap

Eighteen year old Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko has disqualified his entire team from a Dota 2 qualifier by drawing a pro-Russian Z on the minimap.

Russian Dota player Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko has been dropped from the Virtus.pro roster after an incident he caused during a qualifier tournament for the ESL One Stockholm Major.

During a mid-game pause, Moskalenko drew a “Z” in the corner of the minimap, a symbol of solidarity that pro-invasion Russians have adopted during the Ukraine crisis.

Dota Russia
Credit: Twitter/Виктор Волков

Virtus.pro were already playing as “Outsiders” to evade the ESL ban on Russian esport teams, who weren’t the first body to exclude Russia from professional gaming.

Political tensions were already playing a part in these semi-finals, so it’s no wonder that Moskalenko’s actions have stirred up a fair bit of anger.

It still isn’t clear as to why the letter Z has become a pro-Russian symbol. I mean, the letter isn’t even part of the Russian alphabet.

But what matters is that the symbol is being used by soldiers and civilians alike to show their support for Putin’s actions, and now it’s made its way to Dota 2.

As you can see, Moskalenko and his teammates did everything they could to hide the symbol. But the damage was already done.

Moskalenko took to Twitter to defend himself: “There was a long pause in the game,” he wrote.

“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.

Nobody bought it. Least of all the tournament organisers, Beyond the Summit, who chose to disqualify Moskalenko and the rest of Virtus.pro.

That was just the beginning. A day later, the Russian Dota player had his nine-month-old contract ripped up, before the ink even had a chance to dry.

Virtus.pro made no bones as to how they felt about the eighteen year old Anti-Mage player. Here’s what they had to say: “…actions have consequences, whether intentional or not… The club terminates [its] contract with Ivan ‘Pure’ Moskalenko for his diminishing actions that led to disqualification.

To say the letter Z has become radioactive in gaming right now would be a grave understatement.