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Transmission

Russian Defense Minister Declares War On Footwraps

Young conscripts of the Kremlin regiment are taught how to use the traditional "portyanki," or footwraps, in the Moscow barracks. (2007 photo)
Young conscripts of the Kremlin regiment are taught how to use the traditional "portyanki," or footwraps, in the Moscow barracks. (2007 photo)
Russia's new defense minister has ordered the army to do away with footwraps, still widely used by Russian servicemen as a substitute for socks.

Sergei Shoigu on January 14 instructed top army and Defense Ministry officials to phase out the accessory, also known as a foot cloth, from the armed forces.

Russian soldiers, he said, must "forget" about footwraps by the end of the year.

"One can still encounter such a thing as footwraps," Shoigu said. "The units, which we inspected.... Look, the approach toward our servicemen is really appalling. Just gauge the scope of this problem and solve it. I am asking you to release additional funds if needed and get rid of this notion as such in the armed forces once and for all."

Shoigu is not the first defense minister to declare war on footwraps, which Russian soldiers have been using for three centuries.

His predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov, fired in November amid a procurement scandal, also sought to establish the universal use of socks in the army.

WATCH: A Russian soldier demonstrates the preferred method for applying a footwrap:


The influential Soldiers' Mothers organization, which has been lobbying for better conditions in Russia's armed forces, has also campaigned against this antiquated piece of clothing.

Footwraps, however, have stubbornly endured.

They were introduced into the Russian Army by Tsar Peter the Great, who first saw Dutch soldiers bandage their feet during a visit to the Netherlands.

Advocates say footwraps are more resistant than socks and offer better protection from the cold.

For many war veterans, the art of bandaging one's feet is an important hallmark of a real soldier.

But critics say footwraps are unpractical and cause blisters. Since foot cloths are designed to tightly hug the foot, sweating can also be an issue.

Russia's love-hate relationship with footwraps is aptly illustrated by the myth according to which Russian soldiers were able to defeat Napoleon's army and Nazi German troops partly due to the overwhelming smell emanating from their wrapped feet.

-- Claire Bigg
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Comments
     
by: Mamuka
January 14, 2013 19:31
Shocking!!! Either they are very serious about reform, or Mr Shoigu will soon announce his "retirement."
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 15, 2013 13:22
Aaah,nesakhrushimaya and legendarnaya sovietskaya armiya!!!Thats great progress for the russian army today.We all hope they will do away with shoes also and will run barefoot as the soldiers in the georgian army,thus cutting the high rate of shoe stealing in the army.Now,what about the valenki???
In Response

by: Mamuka
January 15, 2013 16:55
As long as they don't get rid of the 50g of vodka with your black bread and grechka.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 15, 2013 19:06
Aaah,Mamuka,we can do without shoes,sox,black bread and gretchka,we can do without selyodka,too,but can we live without the fiery water??? Chort vazmyet,nooooo!!! And I think prez.Putin should raise the standard to at least 500 grams,with all current oil and gas revenues!!! Dlya Rodinu,Dlya Putinu,long live Eugeniu and Jacku too!!!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 15, 2013 10:49
VIDEO: Russia drags US & UK into Its War On Footwraps - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvHXTi5mMQM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 15, 2013 15:33
VIDEO: The Russian Ministry of Defense makes a difficult decision of exporting Russian Footwraps to South-East Asia - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZsFZvBxUyA&feature=youtube_gdata_player
In Response

by: Ivan from: California
January 15, 2013 19:02
Wow Eugenio, you sure seem to be preoccupied with mens feet. Maybe the Russian Army can hire you to give their soldiers foot rubs. Then you wont have to sit on the computer all day to satisfy your fetish.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 15, 2013 21:18
Aaah,Ivan thats a great idea,hiring the Vienna thing to rub russian soldiers` -naaah,not feet,nooo,Eugenia`s has lotsa experience rubbing other parts of the body,but if you put it in front of the soviet army and make it take off his sox,we are all sure the smell`s gonna annihilate the whole enemy army and this time the soviets are gonna win the shortest blietzkrieg in History!!! And now gimme my Schnappes!!! I said Schnappes,not Schweppes,you morons!!!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 16, 2013 08:59
Ivan, Camel, you, guys, are so funny :-))!! Congratulations to you and everyone else on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Russian Footwraps helping the Vietnamese Communists kick the Beavuses and the Butthead out of Vietnam :-))!! (see the video above for details)
In Response

by: Ivan from: California
January 16, 2013 21:21
Eugenio, I see by your comments that you are, once again, trying to change the subject of the article. Then posting a link to a perverted foot fetish video. If you ever come to Santa Cruz, just keep in mind, I don't belong to you club so keep your hands to yourself.

by: Ben
January 15, 2013 16:55
Don`t relax! The sixth of the world land was marched through in these footwraps.The socks will not prevent them.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
January 16, 2013 02:27
While Obama and his wife is planting the cabbage on the White House lawn, Putin increases the production of nuclear weapons.
Russian nuclear missiles aimed at all the NATO countries, including the city Prague.
The right time for journalist Claire Bigg to write about footwraps.
But word footcloth in Russia is not going away, because Putin and his gang known among liberals as foot wraps.
"Noble" reindeer herder Shoigu, who distributed the valenki and axes to the sound of the tambourine is also- footcloth and member of criminal gang, because with Putin recognized аbkhaz bandits.
At the same time, there is another footcloth and it is none other as Mr. Babitsky who on the waves of "Echo of Caucasus" organized anti Georgian company and justification of abkhaz racism, nazism and crimes against humanity..
Journalist Claire Bigg must begin to plant carrots, because together with cabbage may make a salad and wait as to the sound of tambourine in which beats reindeer Shoigu,footwraps of Russia will start to bomb "damned" West and the U.S.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 16, 2013 10:13
Aaah,carrots and cabbage-the stuff georgian dreams of food are made of.It means Vakhtangian couldnt find any food during his round of Moscow garbage cans.The guy is hungry as hell,pardon as a georgian and now dreams of the georgian national dish-sour cabbage and rotten carrots generously dressed with abkhaz turnips and ossetian tripe!!! The Vakhtang thing has already eaten its footwraps ,valenkis and was going to eat its underwear,but its georgian compatriots stole it for their delicatessen supper!!! Somebody,please,feed vakhtangian before he steals his grandmother`s nappies for supper!!!
In Response

by: Mamuka
January 16, 2013 12:13
Camel bey, I never had so much cabbage in Georgia as I did in Russia! But you did have a good idea about the 500g.
In Response

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
January 16, 2013 12:27
The best option for the Russian soldiers, it is the replacement of footcloth on hoofs..This mobility and quickness.
It can be remembered as the camel ran away from the cave from the other camels, from whom he stole the hay ..
New Russian Army:
Putin- мordvin izhorets
Shoigu- reindeer herder who beats the tambourine with his forehead
abkhazian bandits- who steals panties of Georgian grandmothers
and their friend camel who steals hay in a cave ...
and most importantly, all the characters on the hoofs...

by: Jack from: US
January 19, 2013 01:58
you people do not get it, do you? Footwraps are great, ask Jewish wives of Russian officers who use their husbands' footwraps as tampons and save tons of money. Which explains why Russian officers drive Mercedeses

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