Georgian army replaces Kalashnikov with U.S. rifle

Mar 19, 2007
In the Lovenasium
Georgian army replaces Kalashnikov with U.S. rifle

Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:30am EST

TBILISI (Reuters) - Soldiers from NATO aspirant Georgia switched their Soviet-era Kalashnikov rifles on Friday for U.S.-designed M4 carbines in part of a drive to distance themselves from their Russian-dominated past.

Since surging to power in a peaceful 2003 revolution, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has aggressively pursued NATO membership which requires the former Soviet state to modernize its military.

"Good bye old weapon! Long live the new one!" Saakashvili said at an opening ceremony of a new military base in Gori, which is 80 km (50 miles) from the capital Tbilisi, close to the breakaway province of South Ossetia -- and Stalin's birthplace.

Saakashvili handed over the M4 carbine to several soldiers.

He has argued with Russia over the status of Georgia's two rebel regions -- South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- which Moscow supports but Tbilisi has threatened to take back.

Georgia also built a new, NATO-standard military base in 2006 near the border with Abkhazia on the Black Sea coast.

Saakashvili has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on boosting the army and prides himself on creating a modern force. Georgia has about 2,500 soldiers in Iraq. Adverts and pop songs glorify Georgian soldiers.

Former Soviet Georgia lies at the centre of a power struggle between the United States and Russia in the Caucasus, a strategic region wedged between Europe and the Middle East.

Georgian officials say they have purchased enough M4 weapons to equip the entire army and that all troops will be issued with them in the next few weeks.

The weapon is an assault rifle widely used by U.S. troops which can be switched between fully and semi-automatic fire.
To add to your post Zapp


Georgia's President-elect Mikhail Saakashvili hands over U.S. made M4 carbine to soldiers during an opening ceremony of a new military base in the town of Gori some 80 km west of Tbilisi, 18 January 2008. Georgia decided to say 'good-bye' to the famous 'Kalashnikov' and start to use U.S.-designed M4 carbines in a move to turn its army into a professional force
Any one Id their BDU's??:D
This reminds me of a few years back when we gave the Lithuanians (or was it the Ukranians? Can't remember for sure.) 15,000 brand new M-14's. Sent a team from 10th Grp. to teach them how to use them.

"I take these where all Colts ??"

I hope so. I have friends in the French Commandos. A while back they bought a bunch of Bushmaster M-4's. Bushmaster remains a curse-word with those guys unto this day.
I don't really go out of my way for Colt when LMT's are in steady supply. But, my Bushmaster remains a "Trunk gun" to this day.
President dumps Kalashnikov for US rifle

EX-SOVIET Georgia's army began to switch from the Russian-designed Kalashnikov to the modern US M4 rifle, pro-Western president-elect Mikheil Saakashvili announced.

"Today is a historic day for the Georgian armed forces: we start to switch to Western armament. From today, we will use the best weapon in the world - the M4 assault rifle," Mr Saakashvili told troops at a new military base at Gori, in the north of the strategic former Soviet republic.

Mr Saakashvili, who has angered neighbouring Russia by pressing for NATO membership, said on Rustavi-2 television that the armed forces were purchasing "new armoured vehicles which meet the NATO standards, and new artillery, which also meet NATO and Western standards."

Like many ex-Soviet republics, Georgia relies heavily on Soviet-era weaponry, including the Kalashnikov assault rifle. By contrast, the M4 is one of the most up-to-date US small arms and fires NATO-standard 5.56mm bullets.

US military advisors have helped rebuild the threadbare Georgian army, which was defeated by Russian-backed separatists in two regions - Abkhazia and South Ossetia - during the 1990s.

For their part, some 2000 Georgian troops support the US war in Iraq and others are due to be sent to Afghanistan.

Mr Saakashvili was re-elected on January 5 in a snap poll called after political instability erupted in November. He is due to be inaugurated on Sunday, despite opposition claims of vote-rigging.,25197,23075712-12377,00.html

How sad :rolleyes:
IIRC SF did a lot of FID missions into Georgia (the country) in 2002. I think the Marines took that mission after SF got it running smoothly. My guess is that's where the uniform design came from.