Baltic countries demand Walmart stop selling Soviet-style apparel

Baltic countries demand Walmart stop selling Soviet-style apparel
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Three Baltic nations have sent a letter to Walmart executives urging the chain to stop selling apparel with Soviet emblems and the abbreviation "USSR" on its website, urging the chain to respect the region's Soviet-era history.

The Associated Press reports that lawmakers from three countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — sent a letter to Walmart executives asking them to "demonstrate their corporate responsibility" and cease selling items with Soviet imagery immediately.

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Such clothing with USSR symbols is banned in Lithuania under a law that bars symbols of both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, which briefly occupied Soviet-controlled Lithuania during the second World War.

By carrying the items, the lawmakers wrote, Walmart “participates in promotion, among its customers worldwide, of totalitarianism, human rights abuse and suppression of freedom and democracy, the values that allowed such corporations as Walmart to grow and prosper.”

Lithuania's ambassador to the U.S., Rolandas Krisciunas, wrote Wednesday in a second letter to Walmart that the Soviets had committed "horrific" crimes using the same imagery now sold at Walmart, according to the AP.

“Horrific crimes were done under the Soviet symbols of a sickle and hammer,” he wrote. “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 fates struck dozens of millions of other innocent people, including children, across Europe and across the globe,” he added.

A request for comment from The Hill was not immediately answered by Walmart representatives. As of Thursday, items featuring the logos were still viewable on Walmart's website.