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The long black leather coats that struck fear into Soviet citizens as part of the ominous dress code for Stalin’s secret police appear to be making a comeback.
The security forces who guard President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are holding a state tender for 60 such coats and 60 shorter jackets. The website for state tenders showed the Federal Guards Service order is worth 3 million rubles ($108,000). The tender closes June 15.
The image of the dark garment invokes a deep trepidation in many Russians, who recall — some firsthand — accounts of neighbors vanishing after Stalin’s henchmen came knocking.
Bringing the coats back into official use would fit into a wider push by Russian authorities to reintroduce imagery associated with Stalin.