Even in the most carefree times, a children’s bed fashioned after a missile launcher would probably raise eyebrows.
But a Russian furniture company has drawn ire for selling a bed frame modeled after the Buk surface-to-air missile system that a Dutch-led inquiry has concluded shot down a passenger plane over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.
“Is this some kind of joke?” Russian journalist Oleg Kashin remarked in a post on his Facebook page, touching off a string of outraged comments as Russian media picked up the story.
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That left Anton Koppel, the director of the St. Petersburg company that made the item, CaroBus, to defend the bed frames, which are painted with Russian military insignia and feature a base that can be lifted to resemble a missile launcher ready to fire.
“I don’t see anything abnormal about them,” Koppel was quoted as saying Sunday by the Russian website Fontanka.ru. “Some kids want to be doctors, some want to be bakers, some want to be in the military.”
Koppel said his company, which also makes beds styled after sports cars, pirate ships and Hummers, had sold 10 of the Buk beds, which are priced at 11,000 rubles, or about $175. He said the design was inspired by the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II; the company also sells bed frames resembling a tank and a military biplane.
It’s not as though Russia is the only country to produce military-themed children’s beds. The Texas-based company Sweet Retreat Kids (motto: “Because fun spaces are memorable places”) sells a bed fashioned after a tank that will set mom and dad back $8,395.
But the uproar over the Buk bed clearly had an effect. By Tuesday, the CaroBus website had changed the name of the bed from Buk to “Defender.”
A message on the site attributes the switch to “a number of requests for a more neutral name.”
“We draw your attention to the fact that this is a defensive weapon, not an offensive one,” the message reads. “It has been guarding the peace in the skies since 1980.”
Russia has rejected the Dutch-led investigation’s conclusion that the Buk missile launcher that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was taken from Russia into a part of eastern Ukraine held by Moscow-backed separatists. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has declined to apologize for the incident, saying the findings do not identify those suspected of firing the missile.