Kalashnikov gives name to 'manly' but less lethal products


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Drizzt
February 19, 2003, 06:58 PM
Kalashnikov gives name to 'manly' but less lethal products

TOM PARFITT


FROM Albania to Afghanistan, the legendary Kalashnikov rifle is cherished by terrorists, freedom fighters and revolutionaries.

Lightweight, reliable and deadly, the "Kalash" was invented by Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Red Army tank commander, as he lay in a hospital bed recovering from injuries sustained in the Second World War.

More than 70 million of his automatic rifles have been produced since 1949, but Mr Kalashnikov, now 83, has never received a kopeck in royalties.

All that is about to change.

This week, it was confirmed that Mr Kalashnikov has struck a deal with a German company allowing it to use his name on a range of "manly" products — from snowboards and umbrellas to shaving foam, watches and penknives.

In return, Marken Marketing International (MMI), with a reported annual turnover of 7 million, will give the impoverished inventor a cut of its profits.

The German firm, based in Solingen, hopes to cash in on the rugged, durable image associated with Mr Kalashnikov’s celebrated weapon.

The inventor, who has acquired a 33 per cent stake in MMI, backed the idea, telling journalists: "The articles are very similar to my rifle: reliable, easy to use and indestructible."

Living in the former Soviet Union, Mr Kalashnikov was decorated with numerous honours, including the Hero of Socialist Labour and the Stalin Prize, but was denied any financial reward for his invention.

Yesterday, the Russian press praised his deal with MMI as sweet justice for a man who has hitherto been denied the fruits of his labour.

"Kalashnikov is about to get his revenge," said the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, which explained that the seeds for the deal with MMI were sown four years ago, when the company’s chief executive stumbled across the inventor in his home town, Izhevsk, in Siberia.

One press report noted the Kalashnikov brand would be applied to "a whole range of products for real men", including a kind of vodka cocktail.

Komsomolskaya Pravda showed Mr Kalashnikov brandishing an AK-47, with a speech bubble saying: "Now, as well as automatic rifles, semi-automatic umbrellas!"

Mr Kalashnikov, who began work on the rifle in 1941, said he had received offers from firms in the United States to use his name but was reluctant to enter a business deal with the Soviet Union’s Cold War enemy. "I thought if an American company used my name for profit it would have been a betrayal of the motherland," he said.

Born in the Altai region in 1919, one of 18 children in a large peasant family, Mr Kalashnikov worked as a railway clerk before joining the army in 1938. During his service he invented several modifications for Soviet tanks, including a device which enhanced firing through turret slits. He was wounded when the T-38 tank he was commanding was hit by a German shell, tearing off a chunk of the vehicle’s armour and smashing it into his body.

Mr Kalashnikov later explained: "I was in the hospital, and a soldier beside me asked, ‘Why do our soldiers have only one rifle for two or three of our men, when the Germans have automatics?’

"So I designed one. I was a soldier and I created a machine gun for a soldier.

"It was called an Avtomat Kalashnikova, the automatic weapon of Kalashnikov - AK - and it carried the date of its first manufacture, 1947."

The Kalashnikov rifle was first issued as the standard Red Army issue in 1949 and quickly acquired near-mythical status as a hardy, reliable weapon. It was adopted by armies, paramilitary gangs and terrorist groups across the world.

By 1990, about 70 million Kalashnikov rifles of various modifications had been manufactured, both in Russia and abroad, including those made under licence or illegally.

Some countries have chosen to include it in their national emblems and guerrilla fighters from Mozambique told Mr Kalashnikov they had named babies "Kalash" in honour of the weapon. However, last year, during a visit to a weapons museum in Germany, Mr Kalashnikov admitted he was proud of his invention, but sad it had become a tool for terrorists. He said he wished he had invented a machine that would have helped farmers with their work - "for example, a lawnmower".

http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/international.cfm?id=209462003

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Justin
February 19, 2003, 07:04 PM
Yay! Capitalism to the rescue!:D

I've always thought that poor Mikhail got the short end of the stick. He only invented the most ubiquitous military rifle ever, and never saw a dime for it.

USGuns
February 19, 2003, 07:09 PM
Can you believe this guy? He didn't want to give the rights to an American company because we were their cold war enemy but he's willing to give the rights to a German company ... ?!?! :what:

Perhaps someone should remind him which country killed 20+ million of his fellow Russians and wounded him (Germany) and which country saved their bacon (USA)! Unbelievable. :fire:

CWL
February 19, 2003, 07:12 PM
He's free to (legally) earn money whichever way he wants and from whomever he chooses. He certainly didn't make anything from his weapons designs.

Average Guy
February 19, 2003, 07:17 PM
"less lethal" = it doesn't kill you quite as much :rolleyes:

AZTOY
February 19, 2003, 07:19 PM
HE SOLD OUT :fire:

Pendragon
February 19, 2003, 07:24 PM
ok friendly advocates of freedom and liberty - does the man not have the right to "sell out"?

he has seen a lot in his life and while puzzling, I can understand his reluctance to deal with a US company.

Leave him to his tastes - he has a right to them.

Schuey2002
February 19, 2003, 07:29 PM
During the Cold War the CIA would have sold their soul to the Devil to hear words like this..;)

I can just hear a CIA agent shouting out from the top of his lungs, "Bring on the vodka cocktails!!":D

Gordon
February 19, 2003, 07:37 PM
They were selling a killer 490 Motorcycle under his name for 6 or 7 years, was real russian old world technolgy I wanted one, but only saw one.

CZ-75
February 19, 2003, 08:27 PM
By a Ural instead.

Chaz
February 19, 2003, 08:29 PM
Does anybody remember the rash of umbrella related killings in Japan last year? Now what will they do?

Ian
February 19, 2003, 08:36 PM
It's about time he got some return on his invention. May he die a rediculously wealthy man.

bfason
February 20, 2003, 01:04 AM
Good for Mr. Kalashnikov! May he become a filthy rich capitalist from the deal.

I wonder if I can get him to autograph the T-shirts that I plan on having made.
http://www.geocities.com/wfasonpi/med3b.jpg


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Justin
February 20, 2003, 01:12 AM
HE SOLD OUT :fire:

By selling out, do you mean that a former slave of the Soviet Union has seen the light and embraced capitalism for the superior system that it is?:D

Zundfolge
February 20, 2003, 01:17 AM
here's one of those less lethal products :neener:

http://www.vodka47.com/

Brian Maffei
February 20, 2003, 12:23 PM
Can't wait for the merchandise.

Joe Demko
February 20, 2003, 12:29 PM
If the other stuff is like his rifle, it will be durable, nonergonomic, and poorly finished. Later on, when the Egyptian/Chnese/Bulgarian/et. al. knockoffs of the merchandise start flooding the market we can have spirited debates on who makes the best kalashnikov umbrella.

seeker_two
February 20, 2003, 05:03 PM
This week, it was confirmed that Mr Kalashnikov has struck a deal with a German company allowing it to use his name on a range of "manly" products — from snowboards and umbrellas to shaving foam, watches and penknives.


Kalashnikovs carried to work...
Kalashnikovs carried to school...
Kalashnikovs kept w/ you in the shower...
Kalashnikovs concealed in under your jacket sleeve...


Gonna drive Sarah Brady NUTS!!!...:what:

556A2
February 20, 2003, 05:09 PM
I am really glad he is finally getting what he deserves after so many years. Ahhhhh, they joys of capitalism :D

bfason
February 20, 2003, 05:34 PM
Later on, when the Egyptian/Chnese/Bulgarian/et. al. knockoffs of the merchandise start flooding the market we can have spirited debates on who makes the best kalashnikov umbrella.

I'm gonna want a Kalashnikov "assault" umbrella with a collapsable stock, pistol grip, and sharpened tip suitable for drive-by stabbings. Preferably something black and menacing. If it drives just one anti up the wall, then it's worth it. :evil:

Did you know that umbrellas kill people?

http://citadel.ezboard.com/fcoltsnews2313frm13.showMessage?topicID=661.topic

http://www.news24.com/News24/Backpage/0,5583,2-1343_1270027,00.html

http://asia.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/01/07/terror.poison.bulgarian/

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The Titanic was built by professionals; the Arc was built by amateurs.

rock jock
February 20, 2003, 06:21 PM
Perhaps someone should remind him which country killed 20+ million of his fellow Russians and wounded him (Germany) and which country saved their bacon (USA)! Unbelievable.
Yup, I agree. I used to have a high opinion of Mr Kalashnikov, but no more.

"Kalashnikov is about to get his revenge," said the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets
Revenge against whom? The very country that he refers to derisively is the founder of the modern capitalism that is going to make him rich. If he should be indignant at anybody, it should his so-called "motherland" that deprived him of his intellectual property rights in the first place.

Greg L
February 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
In return, Marken Marketing International (MMI), with a reported annual turnover of 7 million, will give the impoverished inventor a cut of its profits.

I doubt if he will get rich from this. 7 million in sales is a small company. After production costs, distribution, and other overhead items there isn't going to be a whole lot left of the 7M and he only gets a portion of it. Certainly better than nothing but it isn't Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous time.

Greg

hksw
February 20, 2003, 07:32 PM
More power to him. I can't see how you can sell out if you had nothing to begin with.

I wonder if the items and apparel with his name on them will be banned from schools.

Mad Man
February 23, 2003, 08:48 AM
Fark.com has a PhotoShop contest of the new Kalashnikov line, at http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=446663

Some submissions (not mine, I'm just linking to them):

http://atlas.imagemagician.com/images/weaps/farkshops1/Kalashnikrutch.jpg


http://atlas.imagemagician.com/images/spork/kalishguitar.jpg


http://atlas.imagemagician.com/images/ourmanflint1/Galoshnakov.jpg

Blackhawk
February 23, 2003, 10:57 AM
Strange world.

But some of the blissninnies who buy the products may wonder about the name and so some research. They've GOTTA learn something!

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