Ukrainians are calling for a boycott of Adidas products after the sportswear company released USSR-themed clothing ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergiy Kyslytsya, took to Twitter asking the company to remove the products bearing Soviet symbols from their site.
Adidas видалила з сайту продукцію з радянською символікою @ukrpravda_full В #adidas живе слава про Адольфа (Аді) Дасслера постачальника взуття Вермахту. З братом Рудольфом він примкнув до нацистів у 30-х Рудольф воював проти USSR, хоча кажуть дезертував https://t.co/P70KShI8PH pic.twitter.com/EZksDBQ9CO— Sergiy Kyslytsya (@SergiyKyslytsya) May 8, 2018
The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (UINR) also appealed to the subsidiary Adidas Ukraine, with a reminder that the distribution of products bearing symbols of the communist regime is prohibited by law.
The products drew criticism online from politicians and social media users in both Ukraine and Lithuania, who have been expressing their opposition under the hashtag #Stopadidas.
“Adidas decided to side with the regime, which killed millions of people and was a prison of nations by putting USSR name and logo on their products. What’s next? Apartheid line of clothes? How could an epic fail like that happen in a company that can afford to employ the best professionals? No more Adidas for me or my family,” First Deputy Minister of Finance, Oksana Markarova wrote on Facebook.
“Adidas opts to use USSR symbols on their attire. To me, this means that I won't spend another cent on their stuff. A company that has no respect for history and no compassion for human suffering doesn’t deserve my patronage. Or anyone’s for that matter,” wrote communications manager and teacher at the Lviv Business School, Yaryna Klyuchkovska, on Facebook.
Photos of Adidas jerseys with photoshopped swastikas have also been circulating online, with social media users drawing comparisons between the use of Soviet and Nazi symbols.
Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also weighed in on the controversy via Twitter: “Being sick with ‘imperial nostalgia’ – it still occurs. A bit surprising from the famous @adidas, though.”
In response, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that Lithuania “should be proud” of the “heroic successes of Soviet Lithuania in sports.”
A bit surprising from @LT_MFA_Stratcom trying to make everybody forget about heroic successes of the Soviet Lithuania in sports. Should be proud of this important part of the national heritage@adidas pic.twitter.com/xxJlw3wXXj— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) May 7, 2018
Adidas has since removed the photos of the clothing with Soviet symbols from the company’s website and online store.