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in brief: women in Kazakhstan protest ban on lace panties


On Sunday, the women of Kazakhstan took to the streets to protest the impending ban on lace underwear.

‘Freedom to Panties’ was yelled as women gathered under the ‘Panties for the President’ protest, for the right to have access to lace underwear.

Valery Koreshkov, minister for technical regulations in the Eurasian Economic Union, the planned successor to the Customs Union stated that as of 1 July, 2014, the production, import and sale of underwear containing less than 6 percent cotton will be prohibited in the Eurasian Union.

The Eurasian Union, or Customs Union, is made up of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

According to The Moscow Times, the ban on underwear arises from a concern for women’s health. It is claimed that lace underwear does not meet the 6 percent threshold for moisture absorption required by law; instead it only has a 3 to 3.6 absorption capacity.

Reports have stated that up to 30 women were arrested for participating in the protest.

One woman, as she was hustled into a police car yelled, ‘why are you afraid of panties? Freedom to panties!’

Iryna Davydenko, a bank manager who travels regularly between Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine told Al Arabiya English, ‘It irritates me the most that the authorities want to decide what I should wear.’

‘As if all other issues in the country are solved and the only outstanding issue is ladies’ panties,’ she said.

The law went into effect in the Customs Union in 2012, but it has not been enforced until now. According to Mirror News it is estimated that Russian lingerie outlets will have to discard up to 90 percent of their stock.

This control over the types of underwear available to women has many suggesting that it is the latest poster child for anti-economic integration policies enforced by the Moscow-led Customs Union. Many, including the former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, have claimed over the years that the Eurasian Union is attempting to ‘re-Sovietise the region.’

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