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August 25, 2007

The Yorkshire Ranter is well worth reading, for the incidental comments as much as for the main thrust of the posts. His Review of a history of the AK-47 nicely explains:

Mikhail Kalashnikov's background as the son of kulaks exiled to Siberia, and his running away to join the engineers - he fled the penal colony and jumped a train, eventually landing an apprenticeship in the Turk-Sib railway yards. This is something a lot of people fail to realise about the Soviet Union; as well as a bureaucratic tyranny, it was (especially up to the 1940s) a continent on the move, full of transients and orphans and bastards and geniuses.