Give Chance a Piece

World peace ain’t exactly bustin’ out all over, but somehow the supply of barely-used AK-47s exceeds current demand.  That is, at least in two neighboring nations that border the Eastern Baltic Sea …

The Finnish Defense Forces will have to sell or scrap up to 100,000 assault rifles in mint condition.  In the 1990s Finland acquired 200,000 Kalashnikov-type assault rifles at bargain prices from China, and from Germany, which unloaded surplus equipment from the National People’s Army of East Germany.  …  They have not been used in the training of conscripts because they are of lower quality than Finnish-made assault rifles.  Commander Taneli Uosukainen says that they are good battlefield weapons, but they are not as durable in military training as Finnish-made guns are.

However, selling the guns is difficult, as there is little demand for AK-47s in [Europe].  Prospective buyers would be mainly from Third World countries … [but] Finnish policy forbids selling weapons to conflict zones.

Meanwhile, in the Kalashnikov Motherland itself, crates of AKs just end up in the dustbin of post-Communist history:

A local pensioner has found submachine guns in abandoned crates, which he was going to use for heating his stove, a source in Udmurtia’s law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass on Friday. “On Thursday evening district police officers noticed that a resident of Sovkhozny in the Zavyalovsky district was unloading the containers and decided to examine them. Some 79 Kalashnikov submachine guns, spare parts and 253 magazines were found in the search of 64 containers,” the source said. The investigation continues.  A criminal case for negligence is about to be opened against Izhmash officials.

 “The weapons arrived at the Izhevsky arms plant for destruction from arms depots of the Defense Ministry … The Kamaz driver was taking the crates [with weapons] to a firing range … but sold them off on the way,” police said.  Izhmash PR officer Yelena Filatova suggested the truck driver was taking what he believed were empty crates to a dump but sold them on the way to a local resident for firewood.

Management at Izhmash can’t be too happy to hear that “Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will fly to Udmurtia on January 24 to organize a meeting on firearms production and storage at the military compound.”

Elsewhere in the Baltic Region …

Investigators in the northern Russian port of Arkhangelsk have charged in absentia Estonia’s former spy chief, Eerik-Niiles Kross, with organizing the hijacking of the cargo ship Arctic Sea in 2009, a spokesman for the regional Investigative Committee, Yury Shperling said on Friday.  “We sent the documents [on the case] to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to put Kross on the federal and international wanted lists,” Shperling said.

Estonian Justice Minister Kristen Michal [retorted:] “Estonia will not hand its citizens over to Russia and [Russia] knows this well. One of the principles of the agreement on juridical assistance between Estonia and Russia says that if citizens are not exchanged, then an investigation of the case is exchanged.  If the Russian authorities wish to question Kross they should do so via the Estonian Prosecutor General’s Office.”

Lunghu suspects Russia has learned that one of Kross’ networks provided key intell to NATO back in June 2009 about what was going on in Kaliningrad.   It’s always payback time when Comrade Bear is involved.

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