beauty

Are your undies less than 6% cotton? You can’t wear them in this country.

You’d think that Vladimir Putin would have more pressing issues than worrying about women’s undies.

But a Putin-led economic agreement to ban lace underwear in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan has led to protests dubbed ‘Panty Riots’ in Kazakhstan.

The ban, to be enforced from July 2014, will prevent undies with less than 6% cotton from being imported, made, or sold in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan because – wait for it – officials say lace does not absorb enough moisture.

A move that, understandably, hasn’t gone down too well with the general public; last week 30 women in Kazakhstan were arrested for protesting while wearing lace underwear on their heads and shouting “Freedom to panties!”

“As a rule, lacy underwear … is literally snatched off the shelves,” said Alisa Sapardiyeva, the manager of a lingerie store in Moscow, DD-Shop in an interview with The Guardian. “If you take that away again the buyer is going to be the one who suffers the most.”

Protestors in Kazakhstan.

The bigger picture here isn’t that officials have moist panties at the forefront of their minds but are aiming to create a trade and customs policy that will rival the EU. Reportedly, 80% of underwear sold in Russia is made offshore – with annual sales reaching $4 billion annually.

According to The Guardian, the “carelessly worded ECU regulation” will mean that unless the law is changed by Jul 1, 90% of lingerie stocks in the union may have to be destroyed.

One Muscovite has shaken off claims that this will have any effect on the lace undies-loving population, “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 Trifon Gadzhikasimov, noting that most of his friends travelled abroad regularly. “I think this is just another silly law that shows the ineffectiveness of our government.”