Does the Kalashnikov belong in the classroom?

The Russian Ministry of Education has instructed schools to give a special lesson on weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov on November 10, the 100th anniversary of his birth. Among other things recommendations for the lesson include having pupils disassemble and reassemble one of Kalashnikov's famous AK47 assault rifles. Russian commentators disapprove.

Open/close all quotes (RU) /

National identity based on killing people

These lessons will only serve to motivate pupils to commit mass murder, opposition politician Dmitri Gudkov criticises in a Facebook post republished by

“Teachers are to teach their pupils the argument that 'more people are killed by Kalashnikovs than by artillery fire, bombs and missile attacks.' And: 'A quarter of a million people are killed each year by bullets from an AK.' So our official identity and depth of soul consists in killing as many people as possible. ... And then, a few years later, yet another army conscript whose face was used to clean a toilet will transform this depth of soul into rounds of gunfire [as a soldier recently did at an army base in Siberia, killing eight]. ... Because after all, he learned in school how to put the assault rifle together.”

Wedomosti (RU) /

Pushkin instead of AK47s

This has little to do with Russia's true values, Vedomosti stresses:

“The Russian state has recently repeated that instruction, and above all patriotic instruction, is more important in schools than academic education. When Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky inaugurated a memorial for Kalashnikov in Moscow in September 2017, he called the AK-47 a 'true Russian cultural trademark'. Even if the AK is no doubt one of the most recognisable symbols of our country, Pushkin, Repin and Tchaikovsky are much more representative of our country's culture. But assiduous treasury-patriots are less and less interested in such contradictions.”