The Russian defence minister is determined the country's army will march in socks rather than the traditional 'portyanki' or foot cloths still used by many soldiers.
Sergei Shoigu, Russia's newly appointed defence minister, was not amused to discover the age-old practice of wrapping soldiers' feet in foot cloths is still practiced. Protyanki are still used despite the latest army uniform being updated by top fashion designer Valentin Yudashkin in 2008. According to Naharnet Yudashkin incorporated cotton socks into the latest design.
The Telegraph reported Shoigu said "This is 2013. We are still talking about foot cloths. I would like to give an order that in 2013, at least by the end of the year, we forget the word 'foot cloths.'" He added "I ask for extra funds to be issued if necessary so that we completely give up this concept in the armed forces."
Some soldiers however prefer the comfort offered by foot cloths, claiming socks worn with tall boots can lead to uncomfortable chafing.
The BBC reported Shoigu has criticized such basic practices along with the standard of military health-care. Following the death of five soldiers due to pneumonia Shoigu promptly sacked the chief medical officer of the armed forces.