- The Washington Times
Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Russia has stoked further tensions with its European neighbors when its national hockey team took the ice against Finland sporting Soviet-era jerseys.

Finland’s former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said he was “surprised” and “disappointed” with Russia’s move during the Euro Hockey Tour’s Channel One Cup in Moscow over the weekend, calling the display “an offensive gesture.”

“That letter combination and regime that stood behind it symbolizes authoritarian imperialism and killed millions of innocent people in the process,” Mr. Stubb said of the jerseys sporting the letters CCCP, or USSR, across the chest.

The team said the throwback jerseys were “in honor of the 75th anniversary of ice hockey in Russia.” The design is based on the national team’s jersey between 1964 and 1968, “a period which saw the Soviet Union win two Olympic gold medals and remain undefeated in World Championship matches,” the team said.

The reminder of the bygone Soviet era struck a raw nerve amid tensions stoked by Russia’s military buildup along Ukraine’s border.

Estonia’s former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves joined in condemning the move, calling Russia and the USSR “interchangeable synonyms” on Twitter after the match.

SEE ALSO: Russia warns of military action as fears mount of Christmas invasion of Ukraine

Finland beat Russia 3-2.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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