The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Forthcoming trade ban on synthetic underwear has Russia's knickers in a twist

  • Print

MOSCOW - A trade ban on lacy lingerie has Russian consumers and their neighbours with their knickers in a twist.

The ban will outlaw any underwear containing less than 6 per cent cotton from being imported, made, or sold in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. And it has struck a chord in societies where La Perla and Victoria's Secret are panty paradises compared to Soviet-era cotton underwear, which was often about as flattering and shapely as drapery.

On Sunday, 30 women protesters in Kazakhstan were arrested and thrown into police vans while wearing lace underwear on their heads and shouting "Freedom to panties!"

The ban in those three countries was first outlined in 2010 by the Eurasian Economic Commission, which regulates the customs union, and it won't go into effect until July 1. But a consumer outcry against it already is reaching a fever pitch.

Photographs comparing sexy modern underwear to outdated, Soviet goods began spreading on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, as women and men alike railed against the prospective changes.

"As a rule, lacy underwear ... is literally snatched off the shelves," said Alisa Sapardiyeva, the manager of a lingerie store in Moscow, DD-Shop, as she flicked through her colorful wares. "If you take that away again, the buyer is going to be the one who suffers the most."

According to the Russian Textile Businesses Union, more than $4 billion worth of underwear is sold in Russia annually, and 80 per cent of the goods sold are foreign made. Analysts have estimated that 90 per cent of products would disappear from shelves, if the ban goes into effect this summer as planned.

The Eurasian Economic Commission declined to comment Monday, saying it was preparing to issue a statement about the underwear ban.

While consumer outrage may force customs union officials to compromise, many see the underwear ban as yet another example of the misguided economic policies that have become a trademark of many post-Soviet countries.

Sunday's panty protest in Kazakhstan followed a larger demonstration the day before against a 19 per cent devaluation of the country's currency, the tenge.

Other people laughed off the panty ban, seeing it as yet another attempt to add regulations and controls to an already byzantine bureaucracy in the three countries.

"I think (the girls)... will still have the opportunity to wear it (synthetic underwear) whether you can buy it in Russia or not," said 22-year-old Muscovite Trifon Gadzhikasimov, noting that most of his friends travel abroad regularly. "I think this is just another silly law that shows the ineffectiveness of our government."

___

Vitnija Saldava in Moscow contributed to this report.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

In the Key of Bart: Can’t It Be Nice This Time?

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....
  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google