Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
As one of the most prolific firearms in modern history and the weapon of choice for armies, terrorist groups, and guerillas, the AK-47 doesn't exactly scream "weapon of peace."
But that's what the Russian manufacturer Kalashnikov Group hopes people believe after the company launched a worldwide rebranding campaign for the 67-year-old weapon on Tuesday, The Guardian reports.
"It precipitated not just a technological but a social revolution," a voiceover from a new marketing video says. "Freedom movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America could at last fight back against professional colonial armies. The AK-47 gave them the chance to demand rights and achieve justice. This is a weapon which helped people defend their families and futures, and demand the right to a peaceful future."
While technically right — the AK-47's design made it simple for the layman to operate it — that doesn't really make it "peaceful." Unless we're going with the "peace through superior firepower" definition.
In a review of C.J. Chivers "The Gun," an excellent history of the AK-47, Max Boot writes:
The AK-47 and various knockoffs would be constructed not only in the Soviet Union but also in China, North Korea, East Germany, Egypt and numerous other countries that set up their own production lines with Soviet help. This proliferation would in time make the AK‑47 the emblem of terrorists and guerrillas or, if you prefer, "freedom fighters"; it would even appear on the flags of Mozambique and a number of terrorist groups.Hezbollah's flag incorporates an image of an assault rifle that may or may not be the AK-47.
The group has produced two slick videos so far with the updated message. Both are Russian language only, with one giving its four-minute version of the history of the rifle, while another shows Russian special forces taking out terrorists before ending with the phrase "Kalashnikov: promoting peace and calm."