Latvians protest against Putin fan shirts
A newly opened store of the Russian fashion label Black Star Wear has caused a stir in the Latvian capital Riga. The brand's clothing, featuring images of Putin, camouflage patterns and Kalashnikov rifles, is very popular in Russia. Rapper Timati, who owns the company, is a huge fan of Vladimir Putin's and often appears in his company. But the store is less of a hit in Latvia for precisely that reason.
There must be no glorifying the dictator
The Latvians protest against the shop is perfectly understandable, Neatkarīgā comments:
“There was a tragic episode in Latvia's history - the Soviet occupation. Yet the foreign policy doctrine of today's Russian President Putin does not show any regret for this illegal occupation. On the contrary, it stresses that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. So we have no reason to be loyal to Russia, its dictator or its aggressive foreign policy, and every reason to sharply criticise anything that glorifies this policy.”
Army fashion shows how safe life is nowadays
The brand prompts Latvijas avīze to philosophise:
“These clothes are intended for people who want to adorn themselves with politically questionable symbols in public but at the same time want to live in safety. They swoon over the Russian army and head for Ireland with a Latvian passport in their pocket. In the past, when military service was still compulsory in Europe and most young people had had real experience in the barracks, it wouldn't have occurred to anyone to wear army clothing in civilian life. Even in the Soviet era, when militarism permeated almost every area of society, army clothing wasn't in fashion. It was worn for gardening and gradually worn out. This may be the only good news about the Black Star Wear store in Riga. Turned into fashion, the potential threat becomes a farce.”