Underwear trade ban has Russia’s knickers in a twist

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

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Photographs comparing sexy modern underwear to outdated, Soviet goods began spreading on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, as women and men alike railed against the prospective changes.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

Just Posted

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Annual pace of housing starts picked up in November, tops expectations

OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of… Continue reading

China pressures US, Canada ahead of Huawei hearing

BEIJING — China raised the pressure on the United States and Canada… Continue reading

Equalization formula a hot topic as finance ministers meet

OTTAWA — For the first time in a decade Ontario will not… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Beyonce performs at pre-wedding party in India

Beyonce brought her star power to a pre-wedding party for the daughter… Continue reading

Kirk Douglas celebrates 102nd birthday

LOS ANGELES — Actor Kirk Douglas got to celebrate his 102nd birthday… Continue reading

Ellen Page steps up attack on Nova Scotia pulp mill’s effluent pipeline

HALIFAX — Hollywood actor Ellen Page is doubling down on her criticism… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Most Read