‘Arms deal’: Pensioner buys dozens Kalashnikovs for $20

A Russian pensioner has found 79 Kalashnikovs and a whole stock of ammunition hidden in wooden boxes he bought to use as firewood and construction material at home.

The story of the unusual purchase began on Thursday, when a pensioner in a remote Siberian village bought 64 large boxes from an acquaintance. The purchase was a real bargain, as 57-year-old Nikolay Nemychev paid a modest 500 rubles [about $20] for the boxes.

However, when the pensioner looked more closely at his buy, he discovered that it contained a genuine – albeit quite shabby – military arsenal. Apart from the Kalashnikov rifles, the boxes were filled with various Kalashnikov accessories, mostly broken paraphernalia, and 253 magazines.

Nikolay Nemychev’s wife Iraida said that the story had given the family quite a shock.

“That is horrendous,” she said as quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper as saying. “We saw big boxes at our neighbors’ and thought we wanted similar ones to repair our verandah, but when we opened ours we saw tons of weaponry!”

The pensioner rushed to inform the police about the find and ever since has been questioned several times. So has the driver who made the delivery.

In the course of the ongoing investigation, police have already discovered that the boxes with the weapons were sent from Defense Ministry’s arsenals to the Izhmash military factory, producer of the Kalashnikov, for disposal. Before being re-used outside the factory, empty boxes were supposed to be used to take out rubbish from the factory.

The driver who reportedly took the boxes for disposal said that he thought they were empty. It is still a mystery, though, as to how he failed to notice that seven of them were considerably heavier than the others.

“People from the village asked me not to destroy the boxes, because they could use them as firewood – that’s it,” the driver told Vesti news channel. “When the boxes were loaded into the vehicle, I was behind the wheel, so I didn’t see what kind of boxes they wanted to dispose of.”

Police are now investigating how the “arms deal” became possible in the first place. The officers are conducting a full audit of the factory. The houses of villagers are also being checked. The factory’s management has so far failed to comment on the matter.

In his Twitter microblog, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin promised to look into the case personally and conduct a special meeting at the factory.