Automatic weapons changed the history of warfare, and the AK-47 changed the history of automatic weapons. As detailed in C.J. Chivers’ terrific history of the subject, The Gun, the AK’s durability, consistency, and price allowed for a democratization of violence across the globe. The Kalashnikov is on the flag of Mozambique. There’s a giant statue of one in Egypt. When the Russian financial system needed a name to encourage stability and success when naming new bonds, it came up with the name “Kalashnikov bond.'”
The history of Kalashnikov goes back two centuries, to the days it was run by the Czar and named Izhevsk after the town where the weapons were made. The Soviet Union, eager to popularize the AK, let allies come to Izhevsk and build their own. A philosophy was born, one with the hope that the weapon would allow freedom fighters across the world to rise up. It wasn’t a great corporate strategy, though. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, copycats emerged worldwide. Eventually, the firm declared bankruptcy in 2009.
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