Izhevsk is famous (at least in Russia) for being the hometown and production centre of Kalashnikov, whose world famous AK-47 assault rifle has been used all over the world for decades.
In 2004 a new museum opened in Izhevsk, Russia to celebrate Kalashnikov and his work.
I visited the museum a few weeks after it opened. The museum is bright, modern and very well presented.
The museum is a stone’s throw from the central square, just behind the old Soviet Cym (soom) department store and opposite the newly built St Michaels cathedral.
It still had special Soviet customer service, different prices for foreigners and on my visit I was harassed by an miserable old babooshka guard who demanded to see if I had purchased the extra ticket necessary to take photos.
The museum even has a live firing range in the basement, where visitors can have a go at shooting live rounds ! For a Brit who’s never handled a real gun this was a great thrill and the highlight of the museum for me.
Kalashnikov designed not only the AK-47 and it’s successors but also a number of other machines and guns.
The museum shows the life, works and successes of Kalashnikov, who still lives nearby in the town.
It’s well worth a visit if you ever visit Izhevsk.
Kalashnikov never made much, if any money from his invention, as his work was owned by the Soviet state, but during the last few years he’s lent his name to a range of Kalashnikov merchandise and a rather decent locally produced Vodka. Yes, you can buy Kalashnikov Vodka in Russia and it’s good. It’s made in the town of Glazov, Udmurtia, this town also produces its own “Glazov” vodka.