Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 07.09.2018
Walmart is selling shirts with a symbol of mass-murder and terror, the hammer and sickle. It advertises them as “cool.” Walmart has no conception of how offensive the hammer and sickle shirts is to the memory of the millions of people who suffered and died under the criminal totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union. Tellingly, Walmart is not selling shirts with the other symbol of 20th century mass-murder and terror: the swastika. It is certain that Walmart executives have no clue that the reason why moral people don’t celebrate the Nazis is the same reason they don’t celebrate the Soviets.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics cast a pall across Muscovy (Russia) and across the many neighbouring countries that became captive nations under its tyrannical rule. Millions of people were killed, tortured, and deprived of human dignity in the generations from 1920 to 1991. As the so-called successor state to the Soviet Union, Muscovy today under Putin – calling itself the Russian Federation – is reviving Stalinist terror. Like his hero Stalin, Putin is executing a campaign of aggressive imperialism against Chechenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and the civilized West in general.
The Putin regime of state terrorism seeks to rehabilitate the Stalin regime of state terrorism. The hammer and sickle symbol and the “CCCP” acronym are propaganda for the effort to normalize what is evil. Walmart – the world’s largest company by revenue – is now promoting the criminal USSR regime. It is selling shirts with the hammer and sickle symbol and the “CCCP” acronym, saying “Buy Cool Shirts.”
Using the symbols and promoting the propaganda of the Nazi and Soviet regimes of state terrorism is illegal in Lithuania and in Ukraine. Walmart selling Soviet-themed shirts is a crime in Lithuania and Ukraine, and is deeply offensive to millions of people throughout central and eastern Europe.
The Ambassador of Lithuania to the US, Rolandas Kriščiūnas, wrote an open letter to Walmart. He called on Walmart to remove Soviet-themed shirts. “The decision to display and promote the symbols associated with mass murder of innocent people cannot and should not be viewed as an ordinary business decision,” the ambassador said. He pointed out that in 2008 the European Parliament adopted a resolution which stated that aggression “by Stalinism and Nazism falls into the category of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, Linas Linkevičius, wrote on Twitter: “Horrific crimes were committed under the Soviet symbols of sickle & hammer – millions killed, tortured & exiled. We trust @Walmart’s moral stance & call to withdraw products with the symbols of mass murders. You wouldn’t buy Nazi-themed clothing, would you?”
Prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Adidas also put out a line clothing glorifying the Soviet regime of state terrorism. Under strongly pro-Putin CEO Kasper Rørsted, Adidas refused to listen to the appeals of Lithuania and Ukraine, and continued to violate those countries’s laws against the promotion of Nazism and Stalinism.
It remains to be seen if Walmart will do the right thing and withdraw the symbols of anti-democratic propaganda. A Soviet hammer and sickle is the moral equivalent of a Nazi swastika. Both symbolize death, hatred, and totalitarian terror. Walmart does not celebrate Hitler – it should not celebrate Stalin. The Soviet Union regime of mass-murder and terror is by no stretch of the imagination “cool.”