VILNIUS: Members of the European Parliament on Friday called on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to stop selling Soviet-themed merchandise on the global online shopping platform insisting that it is offends victims of the regime, according to an open letter.
The appeal to the world’s wealthiest man comes after American retail giant Walmart pledged in September to stop selling clothing with Soviet hammer and sickle symbols following similar complaints.
Twenty-seven MEPs, some from former eastern bloc countries, said they were requesting “the discontinuation of sales of goods with the hammer and sickle symbol, representing the Soviet Union, on the Amazon Inc platform.”
The letter covers goods like t-shirts, costumes, flags and memorabilia, among others.
The MEPs point out that “the total number of victims of the Soviet Regime is estimated at more than 60 million” while the Soviets also deported “over 10 million people” to camps in Siberia where they endured “inhumane living conditions, forced labour, starvation and physical violence.”
“The bloody actions, terror and inhumanity of the Soviet regime affected nearly every family in the formerly occupied countries,” the letter said, adding that “the tragic consequences of these actions are felt to this day.”
Amazon sells red T-shirts emblazoned with the yellow hammer and sickle symbol over the caption “CCCP”, which means “USSR” in the Cyrillic alphabet similar to the merchandise that had been offered by Walmart.
The MEPs also said they “supported the decision of German sports gear maker Adidas to discontinue selling clothes with Soviet symbols in May.”
The Soviet-inspired style has become trendy in recent years as Russian designers make their mark.