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The Soviet Union’s Best Weapons Could Have Killed Millions

The Soviet Union’s Best Weapons Could Have Killed Millions

Michael Peck

Security, Europe

The top 5.

Key point: If weapons technology was the biggest legacy of the Soviet Union, then that says about what Soviet Communism had to offer.

The Soviet Union ceased to exist as of 25 years ago tomorrow–an anniversary that is not fully appreciated to this day. 

And while the old USSR might be gone, one big legacy lives on: The Soviet Union’s history of weapons production and design. 

As frequent contributor Michael Peck explained back in 2014: “Soviet weapons reflected a different design philosophy. The West preferred complex, expensive and perhaps over-engineered armaments. Whether Tiger tanks or F-35s, they opted for quality over quantity. However, Soviets preferred cheaper, cruder weapons that could be produced in quantity, devoured in the maw of modern warfare, and then easily replaced.”

You can read the full text of Peck’s 2014 piece below:

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The Soviet Union is gone, but its weapons live on. Communism was an economic disaster and an ideological dead-end, that could neither motivate its people to work nor provide them with enough toilet paper, let alone bread and sausages.

But the Soviet Union made great weapons. Not great automobiles. Not great televisions. Yet some of its arms have become legendary, still used around the world in many conflicts.

Soviet weapons reflected a different design philosophy. The West preferred complex, expensive and perhaps over-engineered armaments. Whether Tiger tanks or F-35s, they opted for quality over quantity. However, Soviets preferred cheaper, cruder weapons that could be produced in quantity, devoured in the maw of modern warfare, and then easily replaced. To the Soviets, good enough was the enemy of better, as long as good enough had numerical superiority on its side.

With that in mind, here are my picks for the five best Soviet weapons:

The AK-47

What can one say about a gun that is on the national flag of Mozambique? The AK-47 isn’t just an assault rifle. It is an icon, a political statement, the favored weapon of guerrillas and terrorists during the Cold War. With more than 100 million AK-47s produced, the word “ubiquitous” doesn’t even apply.

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