Be Inspired: A Remarkable Surviving Symbol of an Era

A remarkable relic of a generation-defining visit

For generations, one family kept in their archives one of the most important gifts of state ever given, one that would have ongoing symbolism that would shape the course of the 2nd half of the 20th century. The path of this gift took it from the artisans in central rural Russia 800 miles east to Moscow, from there 5000 miles to the halls of the Executive Branch of the US government, 500 miles to the US Midwest, then another 500 to our offices in suburban Philadelphia.


In 1957, Premier Nikita Krushchev visited the master artisans at the Izhevsk rifle manufacturer and marveled at the handiwork. He become a devotee of their product and used their rifles. And it became his gift of choice for perhaps his first and most important visit, the first of any Soviet Premier to the US. He used it as a symbol of what would become the US-Soviet detente that molded the bipolar power structure of the 20th century. He wanted it to symbolize a military peace between the two nations.

That gift survives and so does its power of symbolism. It looks today as it looked in 1959, the year of its gifting. The leather case still accompanies it, the engraving by master craftsman Lekomtsev still stark and the scenes evocative. What also remains with the survival of the artifact is the symbolism of a peaceful and hopeful relationship between the two countries, a remarkable relic of a generation defining visit.

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