About Russian Socks, Russia, Putin, war and more

Hello all! Of course, in an eventful year such as the past, we get many questions and comments about what is happening. About our opinion on it, our name, our products, provenance and much more. And rightly so, because if war and people’s suffering no longer interested anyone, we would be very far from home. I’ve already put up a few blog posts about this on our site over the past year, but I’d like to use this page to provide some answers.

” You must not be selling many socks now that your Putin is so busy! “

A question we have heard very often this past year. And I confess to you, I was quite a bit worried about how the misery in Ukraine and the portrayal in the Western media would play out for us. When you’re told all day long through the media how wrong Russia is, it’s not always easy not to go along with that, I think. So we are extremely happy to see that we have only gained more new customers and that our existing customers keep coming back to us as well! I am really very grateful for that and glad, that most people still know how to distinguish between the power games of world leaders and the lives of ordinary citizens!

” Should I support Russia now by buying your socks? “

Um, no! Definitely don’t! If you actually feel you are sponsoring the war machine by buying our socks, I would just go to hema or order from nordic socks or something. Then you will probably buy stuff from factories in China, Bangladesh or Turkey, where working conditions are abysmal and where they have yet to invent the word ecological, but at least you have cleared your conscience! But seriously, who are you supporting with your purchase from Russian Socks? Briefly:

  1. The sheep and goat farmers in the Russian countryside who provide the wool
  2. The artisan workshops in that same countryside, where our goodies are made
  3. The carrier who brings it to the Netherlands and charges money for it
  4. The Dutch tax authorities, to whom we pay import duties and VAT for importing
  5. Again the Dutch tax authorities, to whom we may then pay income tax and VAT on our turnover
  6. PostNL, which makes money on shipping
  7. Oh yes… Us! After all, what’s left over helps us pay the gas bill and groceries! And the heater is a few notches lower at our place too, believe me!

” Stop advertising that rotten country! “

Yes, that one was among them! And much worse. And to be honest. I understand that emotion quite well.

Here in the West, of course, the world is viewed from the Western – read American – perspective. After World War II, there has been constant opposition and a struggle between East and West for political, military and economic power. It started with the contest between Russia and the USA, who could be first in Berlin to loot the place. In the West, you learn that the West, the Allies, won the war. In Russia, we learned in school that Russia had won the war. In the West we cry that Russian citizens are being kept stupid by state propaganda, but in the West we also get very one-sided reporting.

Example? My mother, my brother, his wife and 3 children lived in Shebekino, a town in Russia, 7 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, near Kharkov. I say lived on purpose, because in December they had to flee leaving behind their homes, animals, belongings, work, everything. Now they all live together in my aunt’s one-room apartment in Moscow, as Ukrainian troops bombed their hometown, market square, energy hubs and hospital as a Christmas present on December 20. And that shelling still continues, all along the border!

Don’t get me wrong, I find it perfectly understandable that the Ukraine is firing back, but have we read a single letter about it in our media? We all get to hear and read filtered information and most people don’t want to think further. This makes it very easy to turn people against each other and create a common enemy. Putin is doing that against the West and our leaders are doing that against the East. What about us? Well, we once scolded an online store for having the wrong name….

” You guys better change your name! “

Should we maybe change our name? Taking the site off the air even? Convert to Freedom Socks or something else symbolic? We have asked ourselves that question many times, of course. We have loved and enjoyed helping all our customers in Europe as much as possible for the past 8 years and we enjoy the fine contacts we have with everyone. I am from Kyrgyzstan, grew up in Russia, my husband is from here and we sell woolen knick-knacks made by very ordinary people in the Russian countryside. People who, like Ukrainians, are suffering immensely from the power games of world leaders.

No marketing tricks

Suddenly demonstratively turning our noses up at anything Russian? Dropping all those dear people with whom we have worked for years? No, that doesn’t feel right. That feels a rather bit phony actually, as if we – like our politicians – are mostly concerned about our image. As if we wanted to quickly secure our little store with another label on the package. A marketing ploy. No, if it has to depend on that, then let’s just sell fewer socks! Meanwhile, we have our hands full with all the packages, which gives me confidence that most people are thinking ahead. 🙂

Greetings and love, Anzhela

P.S. My Dutch is not perfect, unfortunately, so my husband Ward helps me type pieces like this together…. 🙂

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