[The Yorkshire Ranter](http://yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/) is well worth reading, for the incidental comments as much as for the main thrust of the posts. His [Review](http://yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/2007/08/review-ak47-story-of-peoples-gun.html) of a history of the AK-47 nicely explains:

Mikhail Kalashnikov’s background as the son of kulaks exiled to Siberia, and his running away to join the engineers – he fled the penal colony and jumped a train, eventually landing an apprenticeship in the Turk-Sib railway yards. This is something a lot of people fail to realise about the Soviet Union; as well as a bureaucratic tyranny, it was (especially up to the 1940s) a continent on the move, full of transients and orphans and bastards and geniuses.

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