One of the reasons the Berlin Wall fell, 20 years ago this week, is that the world had concluded capitalist societies had better and more desirable stuff.

Yesterday, Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, proved a notable exception when he was honored in Moscow on his 90th birthday as a "Hero of Russia," for creating "a brand every Russian is proud of." Kalashnikov introduced the legendarily sturdy firearm in 1947 and it has since been the weapon of choice for gangsters, drug traffickers and paramilitaries.

Despite the AK-47's long reign -- there are an estimated 100 million AKs still in existence, and it is said to have killed more people than any other weapon -- Kalashnikov barely profited from his design and still lives in a modest apartment.

Kalashnikov contends that it's not his responsibility the weapon he created to "defend the borders of the fatherland," has been responsible for so much death, and that instead the fault lies with the "politicians."

We're just glad what the world really wanted during the Cold War was Levi's and not a simple, all-purpose assault rifle that could withstand most elements. Because if the latter had been the case, we might be speaking Russian.

From the Web:
From Russia With Love
Real photos, real Russians. (The Chive)
Blue Screen of Death Belt Buckle
For geeks who need to keep their pants up. (Walyou)