Lithuania slams Walmart for Soviet-themed shirts

World | 6 Sep 2018 5:52 pm

Lithuania has lashed out at retailing giant Walmart for using the letters USSR and Soviet Union emblems on T-shirts and other products for sale online, and is demanding that the goods be removed.

The Baltic country was occupied by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1941 and again from 1944 to 1990, and Soviet symbols are banned, like Nazi ones in many other countries.

"Horrific crimes were done under the Soviet symbols of a sickle and hammer,” the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States, Rolandas Krisciunas, wrote Wednesday to Walmart. "The promotion of such symbols resonates with a big pain for many centuries.”

"When the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania, hundreds of thousands of our citizens were killed, exiled, tortured, raped, separated from their families. Similar fate stroke dozens of millions of other innocent people, including children, across Europe and across the globe,” the ambassador wrote.

Krisciunas said he does not believe that Walmart deliberately chose to offend by using the Soviet symbols. "But in this case, the T-shirts and other products with the symbols of mass murder should be immediately withdrawn,” he wrote.

There was no immediate reaction from the retailer based in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Lithuania welcomed in May a decision by German sports gear maker Adidas to remove a red tank top with the letters USSR and emblems of the Soviet Union from its online store, that were sold ahead of the football World Cup in Russia. -AP

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