Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Insane How Much of the Russia-Watching Media Fell for This Garbage Non-Story

What you don't publish is as important as what you do. Here at RI we spare you from insipid stories like the "Russia mech" nonsense


Russian weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov—which carries the name of Mikhail Kalashnikov, who gave birth to the legendary AK-47 rifle—pulled off what would be laughable PR stunt, or it would have been if the results weren't so frustrating. The sad part is that western media bought right in, taking what is no more than a cheap vaporware weapon mockup that wouldn't pass muster as a prop in a made for TV movie and turning it into a viral news story.

Enter the ever more wanna-be diversified Kalashnikov Concern's "Igorek" mecha. It's 13 feet tall and supposedly weights 4.5 tons. Yeah, it's also going to be heavily armored and the operator will be able to fire giant weapons from its claws, and it will be in testing soon and so on and so forth. 

So, let's be clear, this is not real. They stuck a bad approximation of a science fiction mecha/walker outside of their concourse at the Army 2018 weapons expo to grab attention. There are nearly no actual military applications for such a vehicle and the development that would be needed to make it work on even a near useless level on the battlefield is laughably out of reach for Russia, and that's a blessing in this case, not a curse. 

I don't have to explain its tactical vulnerabilities and mobility issues either. We have all seen enough Hollywood blockbusters to figure that out. And while the United States did develop a mecha of sorts during the Cold War, it was heavily shielded and intended to service a nuclear-powered bomber, not clearing the streets in Western Syria and building fortresses. A small number of other experiments were even less successful.

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

So, this is a publicity stunt, and a bad one at that, but one that has deep pop culture cross-overs that the press, and especially the defense-related press (see Space Force as an example), loves to finagle into headlines. But no, this isn't your Star Wars, Avatar, or anime dreams becoming a reality. There won't be any glorious battle against these things on any forest moons anytime soon. It is just... Crap.

I get it, trust me, we all have our stinkers. No journalist or commentator bats 1000, but outright playing into something as ridiculous and underdeveloped as this on anywhere near a serious level is straight-up malpractice. And I am the first to remind people to not underestimate America's peer state competitors, including Russia. That stance has proven me right more than any other over the years and in this case I am sticking to it, because Russia wouldn't be stupid enough to actually plow heaps of rubles into this fantasy. They have other far clearer priorities that have already sucked funds away from much more relevant and higher profile weapons programs

What's scary is that I received so many messages asking me to write something about this thing. Eventually I decided to do just that to underscore how far many writers will grease a low-hanging fruit like this to get some traffic and make their day a little easier, not to build up bullshit hype about a near-future in which huge two-legged science fiction robots become a battlefield reality. 

Read more at The Drive


Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.