A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Putin Gives Sisi a Kalashnikov, which Egypt Makes Domestically and Exports

Since the Russians were complaining about the fact that Egypt screwed up their national anthem, I should note that Vladimir Putin's arrival gift to Sisi was awkward in a different way: a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Now, I don't mean it's awkward because the Kalashnikov family of automatic rifles is the favored weapon of terrorists everywhere (it appears on Hizbullah's flag), but because the AK-47 Misr Assault Rifle, produced under license (though possibly a Chinese, not Russian, license) in Maadi, Egypt, and usually known in the West as the AK-47 Maadi, is not only the long-standard shoulder arm of the Egyptian Army but is one of the biggest exports for the Egyptian arms industry. and has been for decades. Many American gunshops stock the Maadi in its semiautomatic version and Egyptian-made ammunition for it. Gun types say it's better than Eastern European knockoffs. I know Vlad is probably giving him the most modern model, but still. It directly competes with a popular Egyptian export.

Is Vlad saying our Kalashnikovs are better than your Kalashnikovs? Sisi, who was career Army, knows how the AK works. Yet he is politely accepting it (I think more graciously than Vlad seemed to be enduring the awkward anthem).

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