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Ushanker Ear Hat

Ushanker Ear Hat

The Russian Ushanka ear hat…

The traditional Russina Ushanka hats, popularized by the military of the Soviet Union, have become tremendously popular in the modern world. Offering an effective, yet stylish way of staying warm, the ushanka has slowly shed it communist association and is now fashion statement, as well as a practical item of clothing for many people worldwide.

The word ushanka, literally translates as ear hat. Sometimes referred to as a trooper, the ushanka is a fur cap with ear flaps which can either be tied up over the crown of the cap, or underneath the chin to provide warmth for the ears, jaw and chin.

The hat also provides some protection against blunt impacts to head. While nowhere near as effective as a helmet, the thick dense fur does reduce the chances of injury should the wear slip and hit their head on floor or ice.

russian ushanka ear hat

Soviet Ushanka Ear Hat

 soviet ushanka ear hat

Soviet Ushanka Ear Hat

Image Credit: Eugene Zelenko, 2006.

Although they are often associated with the Russians, the Scandinavians, Germans, Chinese and North Koreans also wore similar ear hats, for hundreds of years before the 20th century when the hat became popular in Russia.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check our Sexy Russian Womens Military Uniform post.

During the Russian civil warn Aleksandr Kolchak modified the hat with an extra eye-flap. His design, referred to as the kolchakovka, didn’t catch on after Kolchak and his ‘White Army’ lost the war. The ushanka quickly became a symbol and media icon of Soviet Russia.

After the hats became part of the Soviet military uniform – they were issued to all troops in the Warsaw Pact armies – they also began to be issued to military and police forces in western countries such as U.S., Canada, Germany and Finland.

Traditionally made form cheap sheep skin, rabbit, muskrat or mink fur, modern hats tend to be made from artificial fur, which is sometimes referred to as ‘fish-fur’ since it has no relation to any real fur.

The first commercially imported Ushanka’s came to American after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then the hat has become popular not just with military and law informant agencies stationed in the cold, but also with fashion buffs, and more practical wearers worldwide.

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  1. Thumbnail Credit: Petar Miloševi?, 2011.
  2. Ushanka, Wikipedia.
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