Lenin mobile phone adverts spark anger in Poland

A poster for the Heyah campaign, Warsaw, Poland, 8 January Critics of the adverts said they trivialised the crimes of communist leaders

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A mobile phone operator in Poland has pulled an advertising campaign that featured images of Vladimir Lenin after it provoked a wave of anger.

The campaign featured the former Russian leader issuing the command to "Keep Talking!"

Lenin forged a system that later imposed communism in Poland and critics of the adverts said they trivialised the crimes of Soviet leaders.

The owner of the Heyah mobile operator said it did not mean to cause offence.

'Keep Talking!'

The BBC's Adam Easton, in Warsaw, says that in one television commercial ,a young couple's romantic meal is disrupted by a miniature version of an actor playing a red-flag-waving Lenin, who urges them to take advantage of the company's new offer.

Later, a cartoon image of Lenin's head shouts: "Keep Talking!"

Our correspondent says the campaign was meant to appeal to the company's youthful target audience, those too young to remember communism in Poland.

However, Lukasz Kaminski, the director of the Institute of National Remembrance, which investigates communist-era crimes, said the campaign "irresponsibly trivialised" the crimes of Soviet leaders and the fate of their victims.

He wrote in an open letter: "The social effects of this campaign could also be more dangerous because it is addressed to young people, among whom it builds positive associations with Lenin."

Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa SA, which owns Heyah, said it was withdrawing the campaign out of respect for the wishes of its customers.

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