11 Feb 2015

Putin Gives Egyptian President El-Sisi The Gift Of An AK-47

Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Egypt this week, and like any good guest he didn't come empty-handed. After arriving in Cairo airport on Monday, the Russian leader cracked open a metallic case to produce an AK-47 assault rifle, which he presented to Egypt's beaming President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

putin kalashnikov

Putin's present is perhaps a nod to the multibillion-dollar arms deal that Russia and Egypt are reportedly seeking to ink, or the Soviet history of military aid to the country, but the possible symbolism has lent the gift special significance. Criticized for serious human rights violations, el-Sisi's government has become know for crackdowns in which security forces have used live ammunition to shoot and kill protesters and activists.

Since the overthrow of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government by the army in 2013, mass jailing and death sentences of Brotherhood supporters, as well as the arrest of journalists, have been commonplace in Egypt. The most notorious event was the August 2013 Rabaa massacre, in which security forces used brutal force to clear out a protest camp, killing an estimated 817 people.

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