On the surface, the museum, opened late in 2004, serves as Russia's monument to an infantry weapon and to the workers who have made it for almost 60 years. It presents the guns and their history with civic pride and a revived sense of national confidence. Think of Izhesvk as the Detroit of Slavic small arms. The exhibitions, ranging from static displays of weapons to plasma-screen video presentations showing the guns' use in recent decades, reflect a laborer's affection for what has long flowed from nearby foundries and assembly lines. Much of the material is also viewed through the life of Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, the man credited with designing the weapon in secret trials in 1947, and who, at 87, still lives a few blocks away. Were you to substitute automobiles for firearms and add a bit of military decor, this might be a museum celebrating Henry Ford.
And three more, also by Chivers...
- Two Lives Entwined by War Enter a Long, Arduous Chapter Called Recovery
- Killed in Action, but Not by the Enemy
Anyone who has served in a modern combat unit has heard the deadpan warning. Friendly fire, it goes, is not.
- A Sampling From 6 Months’ Worth of Small-Arms Accidents in Vietnam