The killed guard had an AK-47 which after he was killed was used by one of the terrorists to kill all the scientists. What is an AK-47? well this is what I found out:
Image from: Olive-Drab.com
The AK-47, also called Kalashnikov, is the standard riffle of the Soviet Army and many other countries in the world. It has been the weapon of choice of the Soviet Army since it entered into service in 1951.
The AK-47 is designed based on the assault riffle principle. During the Second World War the German Army discovered that most modern combat situation happen at a short range (less than 300 meters) and a regular riffle or machine gun, which used a long range powerful cartridge, was usually too much for the situation (too heavy, too cumbersome, or too big).
The German army came up with a design called the Sturmgewehr 44 (STG44) a compact lightweight and easy to handle riffle that uses a smaller less powerful cartridge then a regular riffle. Because the STG44 is a smaller and lighter riffle, and the bullets used are less powerful the weapon is easier to handle and more accurate in close combat.The Russian army liked the idea of the assault riffle and after WWII asked their weapon designers to come up with an assault riffle. One of these designers was Mikhail Kalashnikov and he took designs from other riffles and used it to come up with the AK-47.
The AK-47 uses gas to cycle the next round into the chamber. When a round is fired the gas build-up behind the bullet is redirected back to the chambering mechanism and the next round will be chambered into the breach (as shown in the animation below). Using the fully automatic setting the rate of fire is 400 rounds a minute.
The features that made this riffle such a big success are; the easy of use, maintenance, and ease of manufacturing. That is why there are over 100 million riffles made all around the world. Besides the Russian manufacturer IZH several other countries (mostly communists) have build their own versions of the AK-47.
The terrorist leader has his own private car, a Zhiguli. Owning a car in Russia during this period was quite rare. The following is what I found about Zhiguli cars:
Zhiguli cars were built in Togliatti, Russia, by a company called VAZ, also known as LADA in Western Europe. It was founded with the help of Italian car manufacturer Fiat. The first car that rolled off the production lines in 1970 was the VAZ 2101, a four door sedan whose design was based on the Fiat 124. The original Fiat design was adapted to work well in rugged countries with bad roads and harsh climates. The Zhiguli model had an even thicker body shell, tougher suspension, and a hand crank for starting the engine in-case the battery went dead in the unforgiving weather. The engine had a capacity of 1.2 liters and cranked out a whopping 64 bhp. The station wagon version (VAZ 2102) was also produced at the same time. It had the same characteristics of the sedan. The Western European versions of the cars were called the LADA 1200 and LADA 1200 combi (the station wagon).
Over the years the models were improved with different body styling and bigger more powerful engines but the production stopped in 1983. I found this picture of a more recent model, the VAZ 2107, on the “cars of the east” website by Kent Ekholm
Besides the Zhiguli cars the company also produced an all terrain car, the Niva. This car was sold in Europe and Canada. It was not distributed in the USA because of the then on-going Cold War. The LADA models were available in Western Europe until the late 90’s, when stricter emission and safety rules were applied and more competition from Asian manufacturers came into the market.
I found this news story about a Zhiguli smashed by a bear, not sure what the driver did to upset the bear though.
The terrorist Rasul is a former sergeant in the MVD. It’s not a very important character in the book (he gets killed in the first Chapter) but I was interested in what the MVD does and stands for. After a bit of research this is what I found:
According to wikipedia, Answers.com and Reference.com, MVD stands for: Ministrstvo Vnutrennikh Del or the Ministry for Internal affairs. In Cyrillic it is written as: (Министерство внутренних дел).
The Ministry of Internal affairs deals with police matters, suchs as criminal investigations, traffic control, and maintenance of public order. Besides regular police matters the MVD also deals with fire fighting, prision services, car registration and the issuing of passports and visas.
The English home page of the MVD (http://eng.mvdrf.ru/) states that it is now called the Ministry of the Interior.
In Chapter One the terrorists attack the oil refinery in this town.
The town of Nizhnevartovsk
The Russian town of Nizhnevartovsk is located in the Nizhnevartovsky district of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug region. Nizhnevartovsk is situated next to the Ob River.
As early as 1909 people collected firewood on the location where the town is situated now. In 1924 the town was first settled, the search for oil started in the area in 1951. In 1965 oil was discovered and the population started to grow rapidly. The settlement officially became a “Town” in 1972. Currently there are over 241,000 people living in Nizhnevartovsk.
The oil discovery in 1965 became part of the Samotlor oil field which now has over 16000 drill wells. The area produces 57.7% of all the oil in Russia and approximate 7% of the total oil production in the world. Gas is also found in this region and accounts for 4% of the total gas production in Russia.
Currently there are over 50 companies producing oil in the Okrug region.