VAN NUYS (CBSLA) — A Ukrainian car customizer was forced to change the name of his store after being harassed on the phone and online for having the word “Russian” in his business name.
“The old name was Russian Wrapz,” said co-owner Jay Shedludko. “And now we have to change it to Hussle Customs.”
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Shedluko said the word “Russian” was meant to show quality and care when the company was launched two years ago.
“They started all this. The hate was thrown back at us because we were basically ourselves,” he said. “For me, I’m Ukrainian. I’m not Russian but I speak Russian all my life .
He added that he hopes the Russian in the store’s name will help them connect with the Russian-speaking community in Los Angeles, many of whom are Ukrainians and Belarusians.
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“I have relatives who lived and still live in Ukraine,” co-owner Denis Shatun said. “Of course, it’s hard to see. It’s as if my own country was bombed.
Shaun said he immigrated from Russia after the government targeted him for protesting against the current regime.
“I don’t even have a friend who supports this war,” he said. “Most of them say they oppose Putin.”
The owners are also wondering if they should keep a mural depicting a famous kyiv church on one side and the Kremlin on the other.
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“That was the whole point of showing people that we are united,” Shedludko said.