Mikhail Kalashnikov to speak at sub-machine guns exhibition in Netherlands

The automatic weapons exhibition named "Kalashnikov - Weapon Without Borders" opens on Thursday in the old Dutch town of Delft, in the armed forces museum of the Netherlands.

The museum's keeper Mathieu Willemsen told RIA Novosti that 50 Kalashnikov assault rifles, from the first AK-47 model to the latest AK-74 modification will be exhibited.

The exhibition will last till May 2004 and will reflect the history of the creation of this kind of efficient small arms, which until recently was produced in dozens of countries.

According to various estimates, 70-100 million pieces of Kalashnikov assault rifles have been produced throughout the world since the 1950s. They have been depicted on the national emblems of several countries and ensured faultless firing in any climatic conditions. As distinct from western automatic rifles, simple Kalashnikov assault rifles could fire even after they were in water and dirt for months. There are well-known cases when the US soldiers used the trophy AK-47 instead of requisite weapons in Vietnam and Korea.

The idea to organize the exhibition was advanced by a Dutch weapons collector, a "fan of Kalashnikov," who collected several dozen of them. He handed over his collection to the museum and spoke about other collectors of this famous Soviet weapon.

A part of the exposition was presented by a small arms plant in the town of Sul, western Germany which manufactured them in the Cold War era. The patterns of the US, British and French sub-machine guns with which AK-47 competed for many years throughout the world will also be shown at the exhibition.

The designer of the assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov will speak at the opening ceremony.

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