Following an outcry from three former Soviet states, Walmart has agreed to stop selling merchandise with Soviet imagery.
Lithuanian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Rasa Jakilaitiene, told the Associated Press that the government “received a letter from Walmart this week confirming that these items would be removed from sales.”
Earlier this month, lawmakers from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania sent a letter to Walmart executives requesting that they stop selling Soviet-themed t-shirts and other merchandise, according to The Hill.
The lawmakers wrote that by carrying the items, 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.”
The Lithuanian ambassador to the United States reportedly wrote a letter to Walmart calling for the items to be banned as well claiming, “horrific crimes were done under the Soviet symbols of a sickle and hammer,” and “the promotion of such symbols resonates with a big pain for many centuries.”
“I don’t believe that Walmart leadership deliberately chose to insult millions of innocent victims or their off-springs, or to side with those who stand accused of crimes against humanity,” he added. “But in this case, the T-shirts and other products with the symbols of mass murder should be immediately withdrawn.”
On Tuesday, several links that formally directed to the merchandise were broken, but several other items remained, according to Huffington Post
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were forcibly annexed by the USSR in 1940 and were occupied by Nazi Germany during WWII. They were given independence with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In 2008, Lithuania banned both Soviet and Nazi images including flags, emblems, and badges.