Military Review

Indestructible sight

Famous Izhevsk weapons the plants are combined into a single concern under the high-profile Kalashnikov brand. What does this mean for local arms manufacturing, which is about two centuries old?

As St. Petersburgers do not think of themselves without “front doors” with “curbs”, as the phrase “Tambov wolf” imperceptibly became the hallmark of the whole region, so in Izhevsk, this safe haven of gunsmith-defenders, no, no, yes, you will hear the brand: “Iron doesn’t fool you! " Translated from Izhevsk to All-Russian, it means something like the following: "The plans were ambitious, the words were beautiful, but life put everything in its place."

The authorship is attributed to the legendary director of the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant, Vasily Chuguevsky: he allegedly threw a little phrase when he sneezed his own after an unsuccessful test of the next “product” - either a shield or the sword of the Motherland. To Izhevsk people, who for the most part at the local factories forged these very shields with swords, it seemed so malicious and marked that it became firmly in use. Yes, so there remained.

Times have changed. Izhevsk is now breaking records in Russia not in terms of production for the defense industry, but in terms of retail space per capita - is it a joke: 60,4 sq. m for every thousand inhabitants! It would seem that the store’s abundance can only be happy, but now the people of Izhevsk themselves are in the role of that “piece of iron” that you cannot fool.

- What is the use of all these supermarkets, if you go to them as an exhibition with our salary? - Igor, a 5 turner in the recent past, is now sniffing. - I used to work on Izhmash, I did not wait for cuts, I myself went to taxi drivers, but after a couple of weeks I gasped: taxi companies in a small Izhevsk, but passengers taxi driver even hang yourself. He settled in as a collector, now his wife laughs - you drag millions himself every day, and bring home a penny!

But in the middle of Pushkin, the central street of the city, there is an ambulance with an open hood. Driver Pavel picks up something in her gut, mothers of those who thought of buying German minibuses for 03 service.

- Foreign car is a foreign car - it is not for our roads! - Pavel gets excited. - How many times have I got stuck on it where the UAZ passes easily! And most importantly, with heavy resuscitation equipment - only oxygen cylinders weigh how much! - shock absorbers do not stand up, cars break down and stand. You can't fool a piece of iron!

Indestructible sight

The unique school of engraving in Izhevsk has become famous for its “frosty” pattern.

City-forming pond

In times of stagnation in Izhevsk student hostels, Vizbor's famous song was sung in its own way: "But we make rockets and blocked the river Izh." Izhevsk Pond - at the time of its creation - the largest artificial reservoir in Europe (12 length and 2,5 width kilometer) is not just a local landmark. It is believed that the people of Izhevsk, with their breadth of soul, a share of adventurism and patience, learned their character in this changeable and divine destination.

In fact, the Izh River was blocked, of course, for another purpose - for the sake of the draft power of the water engines of the Izhevsk Ironworks. Work began on April 10 of the 1760 of the year — this day is considered the founding date of Izhevsk, since without a dam there would have been no factory, and without a factory there would have been no city. When, at the beginning of the 19th century, the ironworks fell into disrepair, an arms office appeared in its place, which gave Izhevsk a second wind. Growing, the enterprise (the very future Izhmash with the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle) eventually became a state in the state, with its own orders and even a special character, which any government, including the Soviet one, was forced to reckon with: after all, they made weapons at the plant.

Anyway, by the revolutionary XX century, the pond divided Izhevsk (then the village) into two parts: a dandy officer-officer Mountain looked at the greasy Zarek down, but with respect, because there were skilled workers, often with a primary technical education proletarian aristocracy. They lived in their homes, in their bast shoes, the very poor went, and the festive clothing of the master-gunsmith was the so-called royal caftan, to which they attached medals for conscientious work.

The revolution 1917, Izhevsk residents accepted without enthusiasm. Dissatisfaction with the new order had already accumulated by August 1918: a year after the change of power, the workers, armed with their rifles, raised an anti-Bolshevik uprising, from which they clutched their heads in Moscow: okay, the officers or at least dark peasants, and then their own proletarian brother ! Next uprising in Izhevsk was supported by the neighboring Votkinsk, after which throughout the entire Civil Izhevsk-Votkinsk brigade in the form of blue (a symbol of connection with the plants - iron and steel) and white (belonging to the White movement) colors inspired fear in the Red Army. Contemporaries described the crushing attacks of Izhevsk workers as follows: "They did not recognize the bayonet and, throwing their rifle on the belt behind their backs, and took out their long working knives. The Reds could not withstand one kind of this manipulation and rushed to escape from such a decisive the enemy. " Admiral Kolchak bestowed on the Izhevsk division an honorary banner of St. George - the highest collective award for military valor. Of those workers who fought on the side of the whites, no one returned home - having reached the end of Manchuria with the remnants of Kolchak's army, they scattered around the world - the USA, Canada, the Philippines, Japan, Argentina. In the largest Californian community for a long time kept the banner of the Izhevsk division.

But Izhevsk itself got it. After Trotsky’s hysterical orders “to level the treacherous Izhevsk and Votkinsk with the ground,” “to mercilessly destroy the people of Izhevsk and Votkinsk with their families” were bathed in blood by the forces of Latvian riflemen. A two-headed eagle was dropped from the factory tower and drowned revealingly in the Izhevsk pond. Enthusiasts are still looking for him, although rumor claims that the Bolsheviks quietly raised artifact from the bottom and melted down. Almost in one day, all the streets of the city were then named - Kommunarov, Karl Marx, Liebknecht, etc., and they remain: the wave of renaming the era of perestroika was overtaken by Izhevsk. But the Soviet government seemed to have learned the rebellion lesson of workers: in 1930, a rink of repression swept through the city, but there was no "kinks on the ground."

“Here, the local NKVD authorities and the party organs tried to take their factory, not newcomers,” Alexander Dorf, a native of Izhevsk, explains. “Maybe because our pendulum also swung, but the amplitude was not the same: believe me, there is something to compare. Any campaign against something or for something in Izhevsk leveled. In the center they understood: it is better not to irritate people who make weapons, once again ...

Experimental workshop. Neither the equipment nor the people have changed since pre-perestroika times

Izhevsk has its own pride

From the open terrace of the summer cafe from the speakers rushes: "The city is a fairy tale, the city is a dream, falling into its network, you disappear forever." She approaches Izhevsk: in the Soviet years they came here to study from Sverdlovsk, Leningrad, even from Moscow, and then they stayed. Alexander Dorf, who worked at the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant 44 of the year, of which almost 20 years was the chief designer of civil and service weapons, emphasizes: "The influx of new people and new ideas was constant."

- Based on MVTU them. Bauman, whose professors were evacuated here during the war, created the Izhevsk Mechanical Institute, ”says the former chief designer.“ There was its own training school for gunsmith engineers. Here it was easier to climb the career ladder, get an apartment from the plant. And the atmosphere itself: the city-factory with its own character, a high concentration of technical intelligentsia and skilled workers, real professionals. The average Izhevsk citizen before perestroika times is an unseemly, benevolent, hard-working professional who knows his own worth.

The son of two telecommunications engineers, Alexander Dorf, did not think about the choice of profession for a long time: if he was born in the city of gunsmiths, it means you need to make weapons. True, it is stipulated that since childhood it refers to guns and pistols without fanaticism, and it does not stand a hunt for spirit (in its youth it saw the slaughter of saigas in the steppe). But all this is not a reason for him to doubt that he was doing the right thing, participating in the development and production of various types of weapons, including for divisions of various security agencies.

- We, without any slogans about the party and the government, were proud of our work. In modern times, it may be strange to hear, but there is still factory patriotism, albeit not the same as before. Maybe for the reason that we always dealt with weapons. Well, the fact that we were given a load: here in the middle of the 1960-x Ustinov said - to be in Izhevsk car factory! The plant team took the visor and set up the production of the rear axle and cardan shafts for the “Muscovites” with the “Izh” emblem on the hood. And where to go was?

There was once a joke in the city that the USSR Minister of Defense Dmitry Ustinov in his rich, almost like Brezhnev’s collection of awards (more than half a hundred, 11 orders of Lenin alone) really lacks the medal “For the capture of Izhevsk”, has a weighty base. It was through the efforts of the People's Commissar, then the Minister of Armaments, and later Minister of Defense Ustinov about a dozen defense plants appeared here in the war and post-war years, and the city itself received the status of half-closed - the way for foreigners was ordered here. After the death of Ustinov, the city was even renamed in his honor, but three years later they returned historical title.

Izhmekha Marina Dobrancheva won five Olympic medals with pistols

After conversion - after the war

Izhevsk Mechanical Plant, established in the capital of Udmurtia in 1942, and by 1944, producing up to 320 thousands of Tokarev pistols a year and Simonov’s anti-tank guns, 1990 was hard to survive. Still: 26 of thousands of workers, and 80 percent of products - defense, which at once became almost all is not needed.

- The government stopped buying guided missiles to anti-tank and anti-aircraft complexes. They said: everything, conversion, rivet pots, - recalls Alexander Gulyaev, the current deputy general director of Izhmeh. And what they have always been able to do here is a weapon! - it is also necessary to produce.

But which one? If in Soviet times the release of sporting and hunting weapons was for Izhmeh, as for an illegal intelligence officer, a cover for high-tech production, then in 1990, left without military orders, the designers had to issue very quickly one development after another. At first, we had to deal with a lot of complaints about new products.

“The consumer has clearly put everything in its place,” Alexander Dorf admits. “They started spinning. For the year we mastered the 3-4 model. Worked like in war: improving products after launch into production. Where does the quality come from during this period? So we used to make only two guns - 12-th and 16-th - calibers, and life made and began to make 12-th ordinary, 12-th magnum (more powerful cartridge), 20-th, 28-th, 32-th and even the 410 caliber. Equipped with ejector and single-trigger mechanisms. They only made critical rifles, classics, they felt that the fashion was changing - they took up a self-loading rifle, and so that it was universal: it allowed to shoot all types of 12 caliber cartridges, from sports to the most powerful hunting ones. Today, few people believe that such a gun was developed from scratch and put into production for 14 months.

Smooth-bore, rifled and combined hunting rifles, combat, service, sporting, sporting training pistols, pneumatic weapons - in terms of the range of weapons produced and the speed of updating the model range, Izhevsk Mechanical now had no equal not only in Russia, but also in the world, and this is an assessment foreign experts (for example, the authoritative Italian magazine Armi e Tiro). The MP-153 self-loading rifle (discussed above) was included in the list of "One hundred best goods in Russia", and two magazines, Guns & Ammo and Sports Afield, named it the 2001 gun in the United States.

“When we started selling it to Italy, to represent the 153 model,” recalls Alexander Dorf, “and Italy is a recognized leader in the production and sale of hunting rifles, they were shaking, of course ... It's like going to Milan with what sews our local garment factory, understand?

The Italian gunsmiths took the MP-153 to the test and, having shot 50 thousands of rounds of ammunition in five days, came to admire: the Izhevsk gun with honor passed this cruel test.

And the old one - Izhevsk pond, from which the city began in 1760.

Trauma station

Alexander Dorf himself didn’t avoid trials either. More precisely, doubts of moral character. Being a categorical opponent of the free circulation of short-barreled weapons and skeptical of gas pistols, he nevertheless was forced to develop such weapons for self-defense.

- When the Germans appeared on the Russian market with their gas pistols, I generally thought that there was nothing good in it. After all, nobody considers weapons and gas guns for us, and therefore, not understanding its danger, the owner is always ready to shoot! Mr. Pflaumer, president of the firm "Umareks", then told us that we are fools. In fact, he was terribly afraid of us and was glad that we had missed the whole topic with gas pistols, and he was on gold in sales in Russia, so much so that he bought the world famous company "Walter". Then the director calls me and says: I respect your citizenship, but then quit. Why do Germans earn, and we do not?

As a result, three models of gas pistols were quickly made on Izhmekh. Then came the turn of the traumatic weapon.

- What kind of provocations were they not plotting against us then! - recalls the former chief designer of the plant. - The same Germans invited experts from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, officials from the Gosstandart, arguing that only their pistols made of light colored alloys cannot be converted into combat ... It came to a draft government decree banning pistols, where the main parts are made of steel - it was precisely our products that were beating precisely. I had to remake the gun Umareksa and shoot him with a cartridge with a conventional bullet. I had only one argument - at the expense of traumatics, to preserve the only specialized pistol production in the country. And smart people at the Interior Ministry agreed that if production in Izhevsk collapsed, then tomorrow the army would have to buy pistols for the army in Germany or in China ...

Weapon masters of Izhevsk plant, 1880. The best were awarded "royal caftans", which the USSR did not recall.

Involuntary arrows

Another attractive market - sports weapons. Izhmekha has achievements on it, although it turns out to be especially difficult to realize them.

“Before the Moscow Olympics, 80,” says designer Dorf, “Spark”, “they called our Minister to the CPSU Central Committee and asked: why do Soviet athletes shoot foreign weapons? Are we not able to provide their own? Took a peak, did. In fact, the athletes were forced to be friends with us, and they, to put it mildly, disliked us. Why? Just imagine: the European Championship is coming, Karl Walter arrives - the nephew of Walter himself, who supplied the Germans with weapons in the war, and begins to give presents to everyone who shot Walter's pistols. And those who won prizes are especially valuable. Can you imagine what a personal video camera or video player in the USSR is in 1970? Yes, for the sake of this, our athletes, who could then win with any weapon, were ready to shoot at least with a stick! And here comes Dorf such, he brings stamped copper medals with the engraving “Man is handsome and glorious by work”. The head coach of the national team, under the general laughter, commands his athletes: “Become! Now you will be giving Dorf medals to you!” Then, however, they struck permission to give airguns, slightly decorated with silver, for prizes. I hand one of our rifles to one of our arrows, and he leaned toward me and in a whisper in his ear: "How much can you sell?" Right on the pedestal!

The former chief designer Izhmeha recalls:

- In reality, it was a closed market even in Soviet times. Systematically engaged in sports weapons were only when our former director V.M. Plyushchikov was elected chairman of the RSFSR Bullet Shooting Federation. And with him, we began to make sports weapons - we selected them for accuracy, brought to mind in the experimental workshop, and took them to the training camp. As a result, they brought up a whole galaxy of athletes who became champions of the world, Europe, the Olympic Games with our weapons and with what they did on Izhmash. We did not have competition: we were engaged in gunfire from a pistol, and Izhmash workers were rifles and biathlon. Now this business, of course, we missed. We can not with world manufacturers of weapons in terms of prizes and gifts, sponsorship, clothing and other things. And there is no one to run administrative levers ...
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. ups
    ups 17 July 2013 07: 51
    So in my childhood I had a Ural-2 rifle, the TOZ-35 was hard for me, I wonder on whom I made the CCM)))
  2. bunta
    bunta 17 July 2013 08: 34
    Presenting caftans to honored gunsmiths is not a purely Izhevsk tradition. Here's an example: Andrei Petrovich Kalganov. Former master of the Zlatoust plant. I was in the service for 55 years, from the age of 72 of the year. Had the good fortune to bring bread and salt to His Imperial Majesty the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II. Photo by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky. 1909-1911 year. Photo is not painted. This is a real color photo.
  3. Terrible ensign
    Terrible ensign 17 July 2013 09: 07
    Thank you for such a life essay ...
  4. wei
    wei 17 July 2013 13: 20
    - Foreign car is a foreign car - it is not for our roads! - Pavel gets excited. - How many times have I got stuck on it where the UAZ passes easily! And most importantly, with heavy resuscitation equipment - only oxygen cylinders weigh how much! - shock absorbers do not stand up, cars break down and stand. You can't fool a piece of iron!

    how much can you carry nonsense.
    no need to repair a Mercedes fix the road
    the road is easier than a car if it could not be done then what to talk about
    By do I mean established production and not a single product
    1. Yura
      Yura 8 August 2013 20: 44
      Quote: wei
      how much can you carry nonsense.
      no need to repair a Mercedes fix the road

      The driver is repairing the car, why should he repair the road. But the fact that the official buys a car, not taking into account the operating conditions created including his own activity or inaction, this already looks like nonsense. The condition of roads is among many other areas of activity of officials. Generalized of course, but it is.
  5. Alexanderlaskov
    Alexanderlaskov 18 July 2013 21: 44
    Yes. There was a time.