Ukrainian gas firm uses Hitler’s image to warn non-payers

March 26th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Donetsk (Ukraine), March 26 (RIA Novosti) A utility company in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine is using the image of Adolf Hitler on billboards to remind defaulters of their gas bills. The advertising slogan “Those who don’t pay for their heating will be punished!” together with the wacky image of the Nazi leader impaled on the bayonet of a Soviet soldier is being used to encourage people to clear their debts.

“This image shows citizens that debtors are like an enemy… And the image of a defeated and crushed enemy reminds all non payers that the punishment for failing to pay their gas payments is inevitable,” Oleksandr Semchenko, deputy chief of Donetskgorteploset, said.

The official said non-payment of bills was causing the company huge losses, and making it difficult to pay for gas supplies.

The company has filed over 14,000 lawsuits against defaulters, and several thousands debtors have had their hot water and gas supplies disconnected for having failed to clear their debts.

The campaign has, meanwhile, attracted fierce criticism from Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko.

“This is stupid. I can’t call it anything else. I will find out who is responsible. The billboards will certainly be withdrawn,” Lukyanchenko told journalists.

Donetskgorteploset has already gained notoriety for its bizarre advertising campaigns using historic figures to remind customers to pay for their services.

In March last year, the company used Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in advertisements with the slogan: “Comrades, this is not a movie, this is life! Those who don’t pay for their heating will be punished.”

A spokesman for the company, defending the advertisement, said the majority of people associate Stalin with order and discipline.
RIA Novosti

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