Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 10.05.2018
Adidas is selling sportswear with the insignia “USSR.” The German company is selling tank dresses and football jerseys with a symbol of a notorious regime of state terror, one of the worst to have have existed in the twentieth century. In celebrating the Soviet Union, Adidas is celebrating the deaths of millions, the enslavement of whole nations, and one of the most crushing degradations of the human condition to have ever happened in history. Adidas is promoting evil.
Morally decent people don’t wear swastikas because they symbolize the Nazi regime of state terror. They also don’t wear the insignia of the Communist regime of state terror, the USSR. The genocides of the Holodomor and the Holocaust leave an indelible stain – the crimes of the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany and the crimes of the Communists in Lenin’s and Stalin’s USSR will never be erased from history. Condemning the criminal nature of the Nazi and Communist regimes – condemning their mass-murdering horror – is a touchstone of modernity. Yet despite this, Adidas is glorifying the USSR, trivializing its crimes and perverting history. In so doing, Adidas diminishes the human spirit.
Adidas (headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany; CEO: Kasper Rørsted) is grossly insulting the dignity and respect of human beings by attempting to turn the hate symbol “USSR” into a fashion statement. Adidas is being particularly insulting to Ukrainians. The Stalin regime of the USSR inflicted on Ukrainians the famine-genocide, the Holodomor, in 1932-33. Conservative estimates are that between four to seven million people were murdered in a planned famine by the USSR.
By selling “USSR” insignia products, Adidas is violating Ukraine’s “Law on the Condemnation of the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) regimes and prohibition of propaganda of their symbols.” The symbols of Nazi Germany and the symbols of the USSR are equally banned. These symbols are an “outrage upon [the] memory of millions of victims of the communist totalitarian regime, [and the] national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regime.” The USSR regime was essentially criminal in nature, and its occupation of Ukraine from 1920 to 1991 was illegal.
Adidas stopped selling “USSR” insignia products briefly, but it appears to be back flogging its celebration of the Soviet regime of state terror.
The Ukraine Crisis Media Centre (UCMC) has launched a campaign to try to shame Adidas. The UCMC issued a public announcement on May 9 which read in part: “UCMC begins publishing visual reminders to Adidas on a daily basis – until Adidas shuts down the USSR clothing line and its CEO Kasper Rørsted makes a public apology with respect to this morally reprehensible situation.” Their first infographic pointed out that the USSR regime killed between 20 to 35 million Soviet citizens, and says: “Thank you, Adidas, for reminding us.”
Adidas busts sanctions in Crimea. By selling its products in Crimea as if Crimea is a part of the Russian Federation, Adidas supports Russian aggression and undermines Ukrainian sovereignty.
Russian individuals and entities are sanctioned because they participate in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and constitute a grave threat to international peace and security. Doing business in Crimea is completely forbidden because it can only be done legitimately under Ukrainian law, and Russian invader-occupiers make that impossible. Adidas breaks the sanction regime by selling its products indirectly, through cut-outs that register to do business in Russia. These cut-outs or ‘affiliates’ then claim to do business under Russian Federation law, which pretends that Ukraine’s territory of Crimea is a part of Russia. This is how Adidas products end up for sale in Crimea under Russian occupation. This is how Adidas profits from Putin’s War.
The Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, has called out Adidas on its sanctions-busting skullduggery. Adidas retreats into legalistic sophistry, but doesn’t bother to deny that its products are being sold in Crimea.
Adidas is a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018. Despite the profound corruption of FIFA and of the Putin regime, and despite Russia’s invasion of Europe in Ukraine, Adidas is forging ahead with its sponsorship of a war propaganda spectacle disguised as a sporting event.
Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted does not hide his pro-Russian views. Speaking to the German media on January 7, Rørsted said “we are working for rapprochement with Russia.” He referred to Russia’s war against the West as a “tense relationship with Russia.” He put the blame on ‘quarrelling European politicians’ and said he believes “that culturally, Russians are much closer to Europe than others.” Short of Gerhard Schröder, Putin couldn’t hope for a better friend than Kasper Rørsted.
Adidas is celebrating the USSR, a tyranny of unprecedented violence and moral depravity. Adidas is violating the law of Ukraine on the propagation of the symbols of Communist regime of state terror. Adidas is busting sanctions in Crimea, supporting Russian aggression and attacking Ukrainian sovereignty. Adidas is sponsoring corrupt FIFA and war-mongering Putin with the World Cup. Kasper Rørsted is among the leading German industrialists who are appeasing Putin and Russian aggression.
Everyone should boycott Adidas. If you buy Adidas you are celebrating the USSR, which means you are celebrating mass-murder and evil. Don’t do it.