German sportswear retailer Adidas has removed its USSR-themed women’s jersey from its online store after facing criticism from politicians and social media users from countries including Lithuania and Ukraine.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry's Strategic Communication Twitter account accused Adidas of “imperial nostalgia” for releasing a “Russia Tank Dress” women’s jersey with “USSR” printed on it last week. Russia’s Foreign Ministry hit back Monday by pointing to Soviet Lithuania’s “heroic successes” in sports that it should be proud of.
The controversial item appeared to have been removed from the Adidas online store as of Tuesday.
Before the item was pulled, online reactions ranged from the ironic to the indignant, with Lithuanian users posting the #stopadidas hashtag on the company's Facebook page.
A Change.org petition against four Adidas clothes items with Soviet symbols called their depiction “as wrong, disgusting and unacceptable as showing Nazi ones.”
It was unclear how many “USSR” jerseys Adidas had produced as part of its “Red” line of sportswear or whether they would still be stocked in Russia.
A FIFA World Cup men’s t-shirt remained the only Soviet-related apparel available on the company's online store as of Tuesday afternoon.