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Russia: a clothing brand launches a “new military style” inspired by Stalin’s tunic

“New times require a new style.

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Russia: a clothing brand launches a “new military style” inspired by Stalin’s tunic

“New times require a new style.” Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the Russian clothing brand “NewRuBrand24” (24 New Russian Brand, in French) is launching a new collection with military looks and references. Entitled “Manifesto of the new Russian style”, it is inspired by Joseph Stalin's tunic, the “stalinka”, which he wore from the 1920s until his death in 1953. The collection has also been was put on sale on the day of the 71st anniversary of the death of the Russian dictator, March 5.

Much more than just clothing, the brand wants to convey a political and military message behind its collection, as Russia has entered a third year of conflict with Ukraine. “The world is becoming more aggressive and more unstable. We cannot change the course of events, but we can make the world a better place,” explains the brand on its site. Through her clothes, she wants to bring “strength” and “confidence” to Russians.

With its long tunics with straight cuts and Mandarin collars, NewRuBrand24 wants to “enhance military traditions” and pay homage to Russian “history” and “culture”. A necessary return to basics according to the brand, after two years of war. “We believe it is especially important not to get lost in the flow of anxious everyday life and to preserve one's identity (...) We are the new Russian style, friends! So we will win,” she says on her site.

The brand's political commitment is reflected even in the advertising clip for the launch of the clothing collection. In an apocalyptic setting with bombed buildings, charred cars and broken windows, the camera follows a man dressed in an immaculate white tunic. This man is Alexeï Kostylov, the former director of the media Readovka, a news site banned by the Russian authorities in 2021, according to the Belarusian media Bielsat.

Photos and video of the launch were relayed on the brand's Instagram account. In one of her publications, she presents the tunic as her “business card”, created in memory of Stalin. At the time, the Russian head of state refused to wear double-breasted suit jackets or ties. This is why his choice fell on an unadorned tunic, the “stalinka”. First with a turned collar and pockets, then with a mandarin collar. This latest version has been revisited and modernized by the NewRuBrand24 brand.

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The price of looking like the dictator? The modest sum of 150,000 rubles, or 1522 euros. NewRuBrand24 justifies this significant price by the use of a “premium fabric manufactured exclusively for this piece”.

Stalinka has since inspired beyond Russian borders. Particularly among the Chinese communist leaders. From Mao Zedong, with his gray tunic with a turned-up collar and pockets, to Deng Xiaoping with a black tunic this time. This military jacket is still used today. It was also worn on Monday March 4 by Dmitri Medvedev. The vice-president of the Russian Security Council swapped his usual suit and tie for a blue stalinka, far from the traditional discreet colors.

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On social networks, the return of Stalinka divides. Some denounce the references to the dictator Stalin: “Where are the bloodstains on his tunic?”, asks a user on Instagram, in reference to the millions of deaths in the gulags under the USSR.

The video clip of the clothing collection also aroused the indignation of many Internet users due to the choice of decor. Several independent media outlets claim that it was filmed in Ukrainian cities occupied by Russia. The connection between Stalin and the invasion in Ukraine is thus considered provocative: “Are you bragging about the destruction of Ukraine through Stalin’s costume?”, commented a user on Instagram.

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