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Russian Designer's Lament: No Turkish Fabric For Anti-Turkish T-Shirts

  • Carl Schreck

A wave of anti-Turkish sentiment, fueled in part by state-run media, has swept across Russia in the ensuing weeks, including demonstrations outside the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, which protesters reportedly pelted with eggs and rocks.

A wave of anti-Turkish sentiment, fueled in part by state-run media, has swept across Russia in the ensuing weeks, including demonstrations outside the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, which protesters reportedly pelted with eggs and rocks.

Russians are outraged over the recent downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish fighter jets, and at least one Russian designer thinks she can make good money selling anti-Turkish T-shirts.

If only she could get the Turkish fabric to make them.

Designer Yekaterina Dobryakova told the Moscow-based broadcaster Russian News Service on December 9 that production of the T-shirts had been stalled because trucks carrying imported Turkish cloth were stuck at the border.

"If these trucks finally arrive with Turkish fabric, we will definitely release a collection of anti-Turkish-themed clothing," Dobryakova was quoted as saying. "The trucks are stuck. Our suppliers are panicking because the vehicles aren't being allowed to cross the border."

It was not immediately clear whether the transport trucks in question were being stopped at the border due to economic sanctions the Kremlin slapped on Ankara after the Turkish military shot down the Russian warplane near the Syrian border on November 24.

Turkey says the bomber violated its airspace, a claim Moscow denies. A Russian pilot was killed in the incident, infuriating President Vladimir Putin, who called the downing of the plane a "stab in the back."

A wave of anti-Turkish sentiment, fueled in part by state-run media, has swept across Russia in the ensuing weeks, including demonstrations outside the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, which protesters reportedly pelted with eggs and rocks.

Dobryakova's dilemma with the missing Turkish fabric elicited chuckles from Putin's detractors, who have long accused the Russian president of failing to build a more self-sufficient economy in Russia. Many of his critics say Putin wants to distract the electorate from his government's shortcomings by portraying Russia as under siege from enemies abroad.

Opposition leader and anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny said Dobryakova "ingeniously describes everything: the economy built over the past 16 years, politics, and foreign policy."

Dobryakova's website describes her clothing as offering an "ironic, witty take on the world and use of the images clearly associated with characters, symbols and events in Russia."

One T-shirt in her collection features an image of U.S. President Barack Obama, the country's first African-American leader, and reads: "Want to become president? Get a tan."

A second Russian fashion designer interviewed by Russian News Service said he was also planning to release a line of anti-Turkish T-shirts, but using fabric produced domestically.

"Turkey has had a monopoly on fabric in Russia," designer Aleksandr Konasov said. "But we're switching to Russian-produced fabric, and the T-shirts with anti-Turkish themes will be made on our own [Russian] fabric."

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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