Uzbekistan: Local Official Orders Undies Out of View
A local Uzbek government official has apparently ordered the closure of stores displaying and selling lingerie, offended by the view -- and thinking of the children.
The Kremlin-sponsored web site and television channel Russia Today (rt.com) writes yesterday:
Women in the Uzbek Capital Tashkent will have to buy their underwear ‘under the counter’ from now on. Local media say Otabek Sadykov took a walk through a local market and was shocked by the sight of bras and panties on sale. He immediately issued an order putting a stop to the display of women’s lingerie in shops.
The story may have come from semi-official uzmetronom.com, a Russian-language Tashkent-based site which often leaks from government sources and covers various scandals of the day.
Uzmetronom.com ran the story on December 25:
According to information from our readers, in Sergeli district of Tashkent, all shops selling underwear are closed, and it has disappeared from the shelves of specialized departments in other stores. Now underwear is being sold underground. According to merchants who were forced into the underground, the ban on the sale of underwear in the district was imposed by the new khokim (the head of the local administration).
The article goes on to speculate sarcastically that next, recommendations from the commission on spirituality and education will be issued to regulate even the design of underwear and when, where, and how it can be worn -- and purchased only with a husband or wife or close relative present.
Radio Ozodlik, the Uzbek Service of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty researched the story and said that local officials had indeed forbidden the display of underwear in shop windows, and that as a result, stores in the Sergeli district were closed by order of Sadykov, the regional news site ca-news.org reported yesterday. It wasn't clear if this was temporary, until they moved their wares behind the counter.
A tax official told Ozodlik that after Sadykov was appointed, he did walk around the marketplaces and stores in his district. "He didn't like the underwear displayed on the shelves. After that, he issued a directive about the regulation of the sale of underpants and bras," said the tax man.
Another official told Ozodlik that it was inappropriate for children to view the lingerie.
A merchant called the decision "an open violation of consumer rights." But a consumer rights' committee said they couldn't change the khokim's orders, and could only review a complaint.
None of the sources say whether this directive from one khokim applies everywhere in Tashkent, and it seems mainly to be about displays, and not a ban on sales.
It's also not clear if this ruling stems from any spiritual authorities, although there have been signs of something of a morals campaign lately, with a crackdown on obscene lyrics in hip-hop music and art works.
This sounds like an opportunity for Gulnara Karimova, President Islam Karimov's designing daughter, known for her fashion triumphs and failures. Maybe a Victoria's Secret style mail-order business?