The Cyrillic letter ë (pronounced “yo”) is a matter of widespread debate in Russian society. It has for a long time been a less priviledged member of the Russian alphabet, frequently replaced by e.

In recent years, language purists of different backgrounds have gone to great lengths to revive the letter, seeing it as a symbol of Russian uniqueness. There has even been set up a site, for the promotion of the letter ë in Russian.

Recently the Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov released a hybrid car entitled ë-mobile, exploiting the letter for commercial purposes. The release led to a long discussion on the web site about whether the letter is necessary in the Russian alphabet today. Most of the contributers to this discussion were strongly for the continued use of the letter, and some even wanted to make it compulsory. The discussion raised questions of the importance of identity (ë as a symbol of Russian uniqueness) and technology (it is not always easy to find the letter on a computer keyboard).