The Times, They Are A-Changin A Little Slower In Russia

The end of an epoch has come to the Russian army. After three hundred years, portyanki are being replaced by socks.


Portyanki (singular – portyanka) are two pieces of cloth used by the soldiers in the Soviet and Russian Army instead of socks. The word sprang up from the Portuguese word which means “a piece of cloth”. The first portyanki appeared together with lapti – the shoes that that were made of the bark of the lime tree. Russian peasants used to wrap portyanki around their feet and then put lapti on. Portyanki started to be worn extensively in the army during the time of Peter the Great, who first saw them during his long stay in Holland.  For the Russian Tsar, portyanki was just another item to make the Russian army look more European. Time went by and the Tsars disappeared, but portyanki stayed with the Russian and Soviet soldiers all the way through their glorious history.


What did they use before portyanki?


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