Russian Striped Shirts

7 Facts about Russian Striped Shirts

Welcome soldier, do you have any questions about the famous striped t-shirt, seen and seen again on Russian soldiers? You want to get clear with the subject to finally choose the model that suits you best?
Be reassured, after reading this article you will be a real expert on this subject which will have no more secrets for you!

At Kula tactical this kind of subject is not unfamiliar to us, as many of our Russian friends (including myself) have done their military service and have worn this shirt themselves. Since then, we have had time to unravel the secrets of this shirt?

The Russian striped t-shirt, also called “Telnyashka”, is the official model used by russian army soldiers. There are different models for each season of the year, as well as different colors of stripes which are all assigned to different military forces.

Come on, let’s start now with the meaning of this military shirt, followed by its history (a bit of general knowledge is always welcome).


1/ Russian striped shirt meaning

Most of us have already seen Russian soldiers displaying their blue striped t-shirts like the airborne soldiers in the picture below. For a closer look at the Russian VDV (paratroopers) telnyashka model, feel free to check our store.

Let’s come back to the fact, if you ask in Russia what the Telnyashka means, here is the answer we will give you: it is the symbol of real men! But why, you might ask? The answer is simple. It is not the woman who protects a country, but the men who join the army to act on the ground. And thus directly serve their nation, the values of their country and their comrades.

The Russian telnyashka is a very strong symbol of patriotism, it represents the strong man builder of his own country ready to defend it and put its aggressors out of harm’s way by.


2/ Origins of Telnyashka

If you thought the Russians invented telnyashka… You are mistaken! As amazing as it may be, this garment was invented by Western European fishermen living in France. Find out more about it now.

The first striped shirt appeared in the seventeenth century and was first seen among fishermen in Brittany, a Celtic region of France. The stripes of this first striped shirt have been identified as black and white. It was moreover an arrival on the international scene full of legends! It was reported that the telnyashka was a kind of amulet, allowing protection against sirens full of bad intentions towards sailors, but also of the sea devil himself and other representations with dark powers. But it is very likely that the appearance of this garment was simply due to a practical necessity. It was not in vain that it was used everywhere on the seas at the height of the sea voyages. A sailor in a striped shirt is clearly more visible on the horizon in the open sea, just as it was an excellent way to save fallen soldiers thanks to its excellent visibility in the water! Early versions of telnyashka were knitted with alternating strips of wool and cotton, so it was a warm and comfortable garment for any time of the year.

3/ Telnyashka history

The origins of the telnyashka have been revealed to you, let’s see now the history of this typical garment!

Until the 18th century, the telnyashka, then called “marinière“, was worn and loved by sailors all over the world. It was when unique uniforms were introduced that this mythical garment was banned. Thus, the striped t-shirt once used by sailors all over the globe for more than a century fell into oblivion.

It is in the middle of the 19th century with the advent of the Dutch sea clothing, composed of a tarpaulin, a collar, flared pants and a flannel jacket, that it came back to the fleet and became part of the official uniform of the sailors.

Moreover, the number of stripes chosen is not accidental. The models of the French sailors count 21, which corresponds exactly to the number of Napoleon’s military victories. While the British and the Dutch have only 12 colored stripes, which corresponds to the number of human coasts. Today, striped shirts are still worn by sailors on warships and civilian ships in many countries.
As well as by every soldier of the Russian regular army.

There is even the anniversary of Telnyashka, which is celebrated on August 19 in Russia. Although it is not yet official, it is very popular. It is particularly widespread in St. Petersburg, where enthusiasts celebrate it as their own tradition.

4/ Telnyashka color meaning

There are exactly 6 different colors of Telnyashka on the Russian territory today (in 2020). But what does this mean? To which military units are these colors assigned? You have probably understood from the previous paragraph that this striped t-shirt holds some secrets, including the choice of the number of color bands. Did you know that each color of Telnyashka is assigned to different Russian military units according to their mission?

The colors of Military Russian striped shirts were defined in the Russian Federation Presidential Decree No. 532 of 08.05.2005. This document concerns different types of troops, especially the SFN (Special Forces) and the GRU (Intelligence). The other units were already accustomed to wearing a specific color. According to this document, the following colors have been officially established:

  • Dark blue stripes telnyashkas – are worn by the Navy troops
  • Blue stripes telnyashkas – are used by the Airborne forces (VDV)
  • Black stripes telnyashkas – are worn by submarine divisions
  • Red stripes telnyashkas – are worn by Spetsnaz of the ministry of internal affairs (MVD)
  • Green stripes telnyashkas – are worn by border guards (this is a part of the work of the FSB – Russian intelligence services)
  • Orange stripes telnyashkas – are worn by the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM)

5/ Types of telnyashka

Did you know that temperatures in Russia can go up to +40° celsius in summer and down to -50° celsius in winter? All this obviously depends on the region you are in, but it is highly recommended to adapt your clothes according to the season: you would not want to find yourself dressed in a Russian gorka outfit while the blazing sun is hitting you on the shoulders.

The same goes for the telnyashka! There are 3 different types of telnyashka, depending on the outside temperature:

  • The Telnyashka tank top – for high temperatures
  • The classic Telnyashka – for most of the year
  • The long sleeve striped knit t-shirt, sewn in the Soviet way. Warmer than its little brother, it is the ideal version for low temperatures

6/ Telnyashka material

Depending on the type of telnyashka, different materials are used. They mainly use cotton, except for the warmer models which are made of wool. Nothing better than a good knit to spend the winter warm!

7/ Who makes telnyashka

Today, Telnyashka are manufactured all over Russia. There are models without brands, manufactured at the local factory for a ridiculously low price and quality. If you wish to consult our telnyashka, you should know that they are all of the best possible quality. We only work with suppliers of the Russian army (splav in particular).


Did you like this article? If so, our Telnyashka will please you even more! We know how difficult it can be to find original material, at Kula tactical we guarantee here the originality of all our products. Discover our category of original Russian Telnyashka, directly made in Russia. Don’t hesitate to choose the Tenlyashka of your choice from our Russian military surplus and take advantage of our expertise now!

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