EA DICE will change a Battlefield 2042 character skin in the game’s next update, after a Ukrainian player pointed out it insensitively mentions the Russian occupation and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
The skin is for Battlefield 2042’s Russian fighter, Boris Guskovsky, and it’s called “Little Green Man.” That is what the masked Russian soldiers in unmarked green uniforms and vehicles were called during the armed conflict leading to the annexation. Incidentally, the multiplayer-only Battlefield 2042’s lore involves a group of stateless fighters called “No-Pats.”
One Ukrainian player pointed this out to DICE on Twitter early Friday morning, taking umbrage with the casual usage of “Little Green Man.”
@EA @EA_DICE are you ok with jokingly putting the Russian terrorists that occupied part of my country? Why not add dunno isis or taliban units to the mix? https://t.co/YlugdMDaYyhttps://t.co/uuhi49xwYL pic.twitter.com/NUBIwMOokR— Waggle-free (@Waggle_ua) November 12, 2021
An official Battlefield Twitter account responded later that afternoon, saying the name “unintentionally references a real world issue.”
Today you helped inform us about a name we use for a Skin in Boris' Mastery Tiers.— Battlefield Direct Communication (@BattlefieldComm) November 12, 2021
It unintentionally references a real world issue, and isn't reflective of our team's values.
We'll be changing the name in a forthcoming update, and appreciate it being brought to our attention. pic.twitter.com/Zzxc5dt8EW
“Little Green Man” is still in the game for the time being; it’s unknown when the next patch will roll out.
Almost eight years ago, Russia seized control of Crimea, which is still internationally recognized as a part of Ukraine, and has been since that nation’s independence in 1991. The invasion and occupation began when “Little Green Men,” so-called because Russia initially denied they were its forces, took over airports and military bases in Crimea in February 2014.
Both Ukraine and the United Nations condemned the annexation as a violation of international law and several agreements regarding Ukraine’s borders. Russia was expelled from the Group of Eight and faced several rounds of sanctions over its belligerence, most recently from the U.S. in 2019.
Russian president Vladimir Putin initially claimed that the “Little Green Men” were pro-Russian, Crimean insurgents who wanted to separate their land and join with Russia. Though Putin later confirmed that Russian forces were present in Ukraine, Russia still claims it did not take Crimea from Ukraine, rather people there voted in a referendum to join the Russian federation. The U.N. does not recognize the legitimacy of that election.