Russian Military Ordered to Switch Portyanki for Socks

Near the end of World War II, Soviet and American soldiers met at the Elbe River in Germany. Lacking a common language, they compared their boots.

The Americans wore socks and lace-up boots. The Russians wore something that boggled the minds of their allies from the West: pieces of cloth twirled around their feet and inserted into bulky, knee-high boots.

The cloth strips, called portyanki, have been a signature element of the Russian military uniform since the 16th century. On Monday Russia’s minister of defence issued an order for a militarywide switch to socks.

I have an instruction for you, the minister, Sergei K Shoigu, said to a gathering of the equivalent of the chiefs of staff and regional commanders in comments broadcast on NTV television news. In 2013, or at least by the end of this year, we will forget foot bindings. I’m asking you, please, if there is need we will provide additional funds. But we need to finally, fully reject this concept in our armed forces.

It is hardly the stuff to alarm a Central Intelligence Agency military analyst. But it sheds light on the Russian military all the same — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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