Kalashnikov Rifles, Something I’ve Noticed

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Something I’ve noticed lately (like within the last few weeks) while reading English language news is the inclusion of the proper noun Kalashnikov when labeling rifles. This proper noun has been appearing more frequently in the news articles I’m reading. This struck me as odd. Why now am I seeing this type of description? Perhaps western media is doing its part to inform or remind us of where the weapons various terrorists are using came from. In this case, Russia. Though, they are manufactured in many countries, with and without licenses, which is to say… not necessarily Russia. Though it stands as a reminder of an origin and a country with which the U.S. continues to have complicated ties.

Example Article Of course there are many interesting and horrible issues to note in this article link,  I picked this issue of labeling the Kalashnikov rifles because it came to my attention within the first 15 seconds of reading the article.


In the movie Lord of War, the character Yuri Orlov, an arms dealer played by Nicolas Cage, mentions the Kalashnikov:

Of all the weapons in the vast Soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947…. more commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It’s the world’s most popular assault rifle, a weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple, 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn’t break, jam, or overheat. It’ll shoot whether it’s covered in mud or filled with sand. It’s so easy, even a child can use it – and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people’s greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars.

— Yuri Orlov, Lord of War
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