It’s hard to say if this is a laughing matter or not. On the 16th August this year, the Russian military arms making group, Kalashnikov, known the world over for their firearms, opened a souvenir shop at Sheremetyevo International Airport. some 30 miles north of Moscow.
As you can see from this Ruptly press agency video, the shop, which takes up just under 200 square feet of floor space, is located close to the airport terminals through which 30 million passengers transit every day. The items on sale include bags, pens, and various clothes bearing pictures of the manufacturer’s assault weapons. As if that wasn’t alarming enough, it gets worse: also on sale are many guns and assault weapons which are, of course, replicas even though they are disturbingly realistic. At a time when terrorist attacks are on the rise in airports, as seen recently in Istanbul and Brussels, and again in Paris last year where Kalashnikovs were used, one could well ask whether this is a responsible decision or not.
When contacted, the Airport Council International (ACI) confirmed they’d heard about the shop via the media but stated that the Russian government had sole authority over shop openings, or closings, at Russian airports. The Cheremetievo Airport authority has nevertheless declared that if any security issues arise, they would ask the Kalashnikov group to offer a new range of more appropriate products. For now, however, there are no plans to get the shop closed down.
With regards to carrying fake weapons in hand luggage aboard planes, European legislation is cristal clear : it is strictly prohibited onboard, with the exception of copies that, without a shadow of a doubt, are clearly fakes. The Kalashnikov fakes obviously don’t fit into this category.