Woman using a parade ushanka as fashion wear, 2011
An ushanka (: уша́нка, IPA: , literally "ear flap hat"), also called a ushanka- (: ша́пка-уша́нка, IPA: ), is a fur with ear flaps that can be tied up to the of the cap, or fastened at the chin to protect the ears, jaw and lower chin from the cold. An alternate manner is to bend the flaps back and tie them behind the head, which is called "-style" — this offers less protection from the elements, but much better visibility, essential for high-speed skiing. The dense fur also offers some protection against blunt impacts to the head.
The word ushanka derives from ushi (у́ши), "ears" in Russian.
Ushankas are often made from inexpensive (tsigeyka, ), or fur. hats are also manufactured and are referred to as "" since the material is not from any real animal. The simplest "fish fur" of ushankas was made of with cloth substrate and cloth top, with the exception of the flaps, which had the pile exposed. Mink fur ushankas are widely used in the Arctic regions of Russia, protecting the ears and chin of the wearer even from "deep frost", which is around −70 to −40 °C (−94 to −40 °F).
Military-style ushanka of the . Made in , 1988
Ushanka with ear flaps deployed
Ushanka with ear flaps folded back "-style"
A souvenir ushanka for tourists with ears tied up to the crown of the cap
American made rabbit fur "ushanka"
Hats with fur earflaps have been known in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, , and Armenia for centuries. The standard modern ushanka with a perfectly round was developed in the 20th century. During the , the ruler of , , introduced a winter uniform hat, commonly referred to as a kolchakovka, c. 1918. It was similar to the ushanka. In 1933, wore a kolchakovka in the short film . However, Kolchak and the lost the war, and their headgear was not adopted in the new .
Red Army soldiers instead wore the , which was made of felt. It was designed to resemble historical helmets, and did not provide much protection from the cold.
During the against Finland, organizational failures and inadequate equipment left many Soviet troops vulnerable to cold, and many died of exposure. The had much better equipment including an ushanka-style fur hat, the turkislakki M36, introduced in 1936. In 1939, shortly before the Winter War, the slightly improved turkislakki M39 was introduced, and is still in use today. After the winter war, the received completely redesigned winter uniforms. were finally replaced with ushankas based on the Finnish example. Officers were issued fur ushankas; other ranks received ushankas made with or "". When they experienced the harsh Russian winter, for example during the , German soldiers started to wear ushankas and other Soviet-type winter gear, as their uniforms did not provide adequate protection. WW2 ushanka presented in the Army museum (Russia) and Saumur tank museum (France).
The ushanka became a symbol and media icon of the and later the . Photographs of U.S. President wearing the cap during a 1974 visit to the Soviet Union were seen as a possible sign of .
Identified with Soviet rule and issued in all armies, the ushanka has become a part of the winter uniform for military and police forces in Canada and other Western countries with a cold winter. Gray (American civilian police), green (for camouflage), blue (police, United States Post Office) and black versions are in current usage. In 2013, however, the Russian army announced that the ushanka was being replaced by new headgear, which is essentially the same ushanka with a rounder crown and small sealable openings in the flaps for wearing .
The ushanka was used by the East German authorities before , and remained part of the German police uniform in winter afterwards. In the , a gray hat is used with M62 uniform and a green one of different design is a part of M91 and M05 winter dress. Armoured troops have a black hat (M92), while generals may wear a white M39 hat. The use a "regulation hat" (between an ushanka and an ), made of fur. This replaced the former . Similar ones are used by staff during winter.
A similar type of headgear is worn in China's 's winter uniform. Featured in an iconic image of , this type of hat is often called by Chinese "the Lei Feng hat" (雷锋帽, Lei Feng mao).
It is claimed that British wartime airmen visiting the to help to protect the quickly started to wear ushankas because their own uniform hats were not warm enough, but "kept the ear flaps tied up to the crown as any Russian would, because it was considered unmanly to wear them down." However, in the Russian military up to this day, the way of wearing the ushanka — up flaps, down flaps or ski-style — is considered a part of and is usually decided by a unit commander at , so the Russian soldiers aren't actually free about the way they wear their hats.
A variant of the ushanka is popular in Norway, especially in the north. It is infamous for its name, "bjørnefitte" (bear's vagina), which is considered vulgar in most parts of the country.
Trapper hats are "a sort of hybrid between the aviator cap and the ushanka—they combine the style of the former with the furriness of the latter". They are considered more casual than the military-derived ushanka.
In popular culture
- In the American adult animated sitcom , Kyle Broflovski wears a green ushanka.
- In the Seinfeld episode (1996) the plot revolves around an 8,000 US$ ushanka.
- In the video game , an obtainable piece of headwear for the Heavy, a Russian character, is known as the "Officer's Ushanka."
- In the video game the main protagonist wears a closed setup Ushanka.
- Estonia-based Slav Youtuber frequently wears ushankas and has started selling his own line.
- American rapper wore a white ushanka to the .
wearing an ushanka walks besides at the Leningrad railway station
Formal and closed setup of the ushanka worn with the winter version of the ; both the Afghanka collar and the ushanka are made from
American rapper wearing a ushanka
- ^ (1989). . Osprey Publishing. p. 43. .
- . Puolustusvoimat.fi. Archived from on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
- Mirouze, Laurent. Infanteristen des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Düsseldorf: Verlag Karl-Heinz Dissberger. p. 28. .
- Färber, Mathias (1990). Zweiter Weltkrieg. Unipart-Verlag, Stuttgart. p. 556. .
- . paris1814.com.
- Pike, John. . www.globalsecurity.org.
- . Furbeardefenders.com.
- ("Lei Feng hat")
- Alexander, Kristen (1 October 2010). . ReadHowYouWant.com. p. 143. .
- . Artofmanliness.com. 2013.
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