Swastikas on Lithuanian dairy products in Russia

The following blog entry has been republished here courtesy of With a Grain of Druska.

This is a translation of an article that I found on Delfi.lt. The article can be found here. I’ve edited things a bit to avoid some repetition. The article is dated 31 May.

“Photos taken in Russia show Lithuanian products labelled with a swastika”

Lithuanian producers of food are encountering new problems in Russia. Photos on the internet show that stickers with a swastika have been attached to Lithuanian dairy products on the shelves in shops. Antanas Kavaliauskas, director of Pieno Centras, a Lithuanian dairy association, says that he has received information about the stickers from partners in Russia and admits that they are not beneficial for business.

Earlier the Russian youth organisation Nashi, which is supported by the Kremlin, called for a boycott of Lithuanian products because of the decision of Klaipeda District Court to recognise the swastika as part of Lithuania’s historical heritage.

‘We have received information that in certain shopping centres groups of people have been applying swastika stickers to Lithuanian products. Some shops have taken the products off their shelves. … Who wants to buy a product that has a swastika on it? […] Of course, these kinds of things are not good for business in general’, Kavaliauskas said. He added that the stickers were being placed on all types of food products made in Lithuania.

Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said that he has not received information about such incidents and could therefore not make a comment. ‘I really don’t have such information and therefore don’t know how to react. As far as I know, in Moscow and St Petersburg Lithuanian products are considered to be quite good’, the prime minister said after a government meeting on Monday.

At the same time, Jonas Sviderskis, director-general of the Lithuanian Association of Agricultural Firms, called such behaviour ‘child’s play’ and said he doubted its influence on the popularity of Lithuanian products in Russia.

[…]

Dairy products and live hogs are currently the main Lithuanian exports to Russia.

Lithuanian diplomat: swastikas on Lithuanian products—a onetime campaign

[…]

Andrius Pulokas, an official with the Lithuanian embassy in Moscow, told BNS [Baltic News Service] on Monday that the occurrence of stickers on Lithuanian products was not a widespread phenomenon and that it was a onetime campaign. ‘This information has appeared on the internet and been announced on the radio station Echo Moskvy. It was a onetime occurrence and was apparently put on the internet in an attempt to create a stir in every way possible. Employees of the embassy haven’t see such things’, the diplomat told BNS during a telephone conversation. ‘This is not a widespread occurrence. Obviously it’s not difficult to get a few stickers, put them on something, and put it on the internet’, Pulokas added.

Last week the movement Nashi announced that on Friday in the largest grocery stores it would begin distributing leaflets protesting ‘against the legalisation of the use of fascist symbols’.

DELFI reminds its readers that in May Klaipeda District Court dismissed a case against four young men who were charged with carrying placards bearing swastika during a parade on 16 February. The young men were successful in convincing the court that the swastika was not a Nazi symbol, but a part of Lithuania’s historical heritage. Ancient rings, clasps, and bracelets bearing a swastika have been unearthed in Kernave [ancient capital of Lithuania].

The police intend to appeal the court’s decision.

Andrius Pulokas told BNS that on Friday a small group of people gathered outside the Lithuanian embassy in Moscow to protest the court’s decision.

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