Memorializing Kalashnikov may signal a renewed demand for recognition of Russia’s contribution to global warfare, argues Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at The New School in New York. The weapon is distinctly Russian—created in the Soviet era, it was the standard rifle for the Warsaw Pact countries dominated by the USSR. Yet US-made arms, from manufacturers such as Colt and Smith & Wesson, are featured and memorialized worldwide in movies and television, stirring admiration, and demand. AK-47s are instead associated with vigilantes and terrorists, an image the Kremlin might now be trying to change.
The AK-47 made it into the Guinness Book of World Records because of its impressive volume of product—100 million worldwide. More so, demand for the rifle jumped after president Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia and spurred Kalashnikov USA to split from its Russian supplier and seek to make a version of the gun in Florida.
Kalashnikovs now dominate, making up almost a fifth of small arms (pdf, page 3) around the globe. Thousands have made it into the hands of insurgents, terrorists, and rebels. They are prominently displayed on the flags of Mozambique and Hezbollah.
The AK-47 was designed in response to the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) assault rifle, the selective-fire (automatic or semi-automatic) rifle issued to German soldiers. Kalashnikov took inspiration from the StG 44 and the American M1. The model name combined “Avtomat (automatic) Kalashnikov” and the year of its introduction, 1947. It wasn’t until 1949 that the Soviet army finally adopted the weapon.
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The strength of the AK-47 is in its simple design—it rarely breaks, can take a beating, and is easy to use. It’s also cheap to make, and individual weapons can last as long as 40 years.
As high-ranking officials and Russian Orthodox priests looked on, a 30-foot statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov was unveiled today (Sept.19), in central Moscow. The monument depicts Kalashnikov clutching his creation, the AK-47— the world’s most famous assault rifle—and sits on one of the busiest streets in the city. The unveiling featured much pomp and ritual—a priest sprinkled holy water on the statue, onlookers crossed themselves, and a former spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church took to social and wrote, “our weapon is a holy weapon.”
With tensions between Russia and the West at their highest since the end of the Cold War, it’s possible that this monument is yet another volley in what seems to be a never-ending conflict.
A year before he died at age 94 in 2013, the inventor wrote a tortured letter to the head of the church. As reported by Ivestia, the pro-Kremlin newspaper, Kalashnikov insisted his “spiritual pain is unbearable.” “I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle claimed people’s lives, then can it be that I…a Christian and an Orthodox believer, was to blame for their deaths?” To be clear, Kalashnikov did not always feel this way. In 2007, he said, ”I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.”
All of the piety at its unveiling would have made Mikhail Kalashnikov more than uncomfortable.
I’ve seen the strain at Altitude, bgood, Damian Marley’s Stony Hill, Denver Dispensary, Diego Pellicer, Herbs4You, Lightshade, the Lodge and Solace Meds, and no doubt it’s at many more. Your choice of cut is likely to be based on price, but my favorites come from Denver Dispensary, Diego Pellicer and Herbs4You, with the latter carrying the most value at $25 per eighth.
Looks: AK-47’s fist- and banana-shaped buds typically don’t carry the heavy trichome coating that newer strains sport, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s less potent. The strain’s lime-green color and creamy-orange pistils carry a classic chronic look, with rare shades of purple depending on the phenotype.
Smell: A rustic reprieve from pinching tangerine or sugar-cake aromas, AK-47 gives off pungent but enjoyable notes of wet soil, zesty hints of pine and wood, and a subtle orange aroma at the end. The dank mixture is both skunky and spicy, with a small, sweet layer of citrus on top.
Flavor: The strain’s flavors should be simple and easy to notice but still varied, starting with sweet, earthy Kush notes, dominated in the middle by sweet tastes of rubber, and finished off with grainy hints of wood.
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Effects: Although named after a powerful rifle, AK-47 doesn’t put a hole in your head. Its alert, euphoric effects are perfect for daytime chores and social activities, while its focus and slight body high keep the anxiety at bay. Still, a couple puffs too many will eventually bring a strong comedown. It’s been used to treat anxiety, exhaustion, stress, eating disorders and mental anguish.
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Named after one of the most widely used killing machines on the planet, this strain is much more gentle than you’d imagine. The sativa-dominant hybrid came to fame in the early ’90s, winning cannabis cups and taking over the streets thanks to a potency that crossed the 15 percent THC mark, which was really powerful at the time.
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Named after one of the most widely used killing machines on the planet, AK-47 is much more gentle than you’d imagine. The sativa-dominant hybrid came to fame in the early ’90s, winning cannabis cups and taking over the streets thanks to a potency that crossed the 15 percent THC mark, which was really powerful back…