By Kerrin Brinkman | January 26 2011 17:57
Jim Supica and Elena Kalashnikova, daughter of the AK-47 inventor, touring the NRA on visit from Russia

Firearms can be considered legendary for numerous reasons. Whether it be an innovation in design, fine craftsmanship, popularity, historical significance, or even reliability, one firearm in particular is recognized worldwide as having an incredible legacy than will be known for generations to come: the AK-47. Designed and created by Russian firearms legend Mikhail Kalashnikov, the AK-47 is definitely one of the world’s most recognizable rifles.

“The AK-47 is one of the most prolific combat rifles in history,” said Jim Supica, Director of the National Firearms Museum. "Easy to manufacture, simple to operate, works in all types of weather – it's a remarkable rifle."

In November of 2009, Supica traveled to Russia to celebrate Kalashnikov’s 90th birthday and his accomplishments in the firearms industry. Yesterday, Mikhail’s daughter, Elena Kalashnikova visited Supica and the staff of the National Firearms Museum and toured its galleries while visiting the United States.

Elena is the President of the Kalashnikov Foundation and with translator and colleague Alexander Zheltov at her side, Kalashnikova presented Supica with Foundation medal and pin along with several books about her father and his legendary rifle. Elena also donated copies of these books to the National Firearms Museum Library, including her father’s signature.

As Elena presented her father’s biography, she explained how his life parallels the modern history of his country.

Elena Kalashnikova tours the Petersen Gallery with Jim Supica

“My father was born in 1919, and the Soviet Union was created in 1917,” shared Kalashnikova.

Supica also presented Kalashnikova with gifts and showed her his private collection of firearms, which includes two AK-47s; one made in Egypt and another in China.

Elena last visited the National Firearms Museum 12 years ago, but had not seen several new highlights including the Petersen Gallery, the Hollywood Guns exhibit, and a special AK-74 MTK90 Jubilee Rifle given by Arsenal, Inc. to celebrate her father’s 90th birthday and 35 years of the AK-74 model.

Kalashnikova also gave an interview in her native tongue for John Popp from NRA News, discussing her trip to the United States and the importance of building and nurturing relationship with friends in the American firearms industry.

“It is wonderful to see two countries that are different working together and being good friends,” she said. Elena also shared that her father, now 91 years old is doing well at home in Russia and sends his regards. “He loves all of you; he loves the group [NRA].”

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