There's a member of our group who has a saying. It goes "The army with the simplest uniform wins...."
As aphorisms go it isn't a million miles away from the truth, if you think about it. My view, however, is slightly different. I tend to the view that the armies with the best looking hats win. (I'm not sure if this applies to helmets however, although I have always preferred the look of the battle bowler to the coal scuttle.)
Now the Russians have great hats. Here's a picture of three of the hats I bought on our trip, all lined up on a shelf in our cabin:
I wanted to pick up the odd hat or two on our trip, but never thought I 'd get that lucky.
The first hat is the classic Red Army Civil War budenovka. This is the winter version. Not sure about the red piping, but it does fold down and button under the chin. Cost me 250 roubles (about £6). The next one along is a Naval Cap for the Baltic Fleet. As you can see it has lovely long tassels at the back - I got a stripy shirt to go with it later on in the holiday. Again about £6. Both of these were bought off souvenir stands next to the Cruiser Aurora, so I think added kudos for that. Later on in the holiday I saw budenovka's in grey and also in khaki with the blue cavalry star on the front. Bizarrely you can also buy them with white army badges and piping.
The last one is the classic WarPact era furry hat. Alas it is synthetic, but it has a lovely badge on the front. This one came from an official souvenir shop and so cost me €10. I could have got it cheaper from a street stand.
You could easily get peaked caps with various size peaks and tops from the post revolutionary Soviet era. I'd have bought more, but Mrs Trebian pointed out that there's only so much you can get in a suitcase without destroying it.
Finally, last but not least, I picked up a budenovka in black felt. Okay, so it's not in leather, but it is a ringer for the Cheka version*. I feel a funny hat game coming on.
* On the boat we had a "Russian Dress Night". This mostly consisted of people wearing a variety of hats. One chap had one of these. His wife said she didn't mind him buying it as she was a Key Stage 1 Primary School teacher and it'd go in the class dressing up box when she got home. I'm sure there aren't many British schools that give children the chance to dress up as secret policemen.