Quick note, I seriously came up with this title for this post before I read the entire NYT article and realized that they really are offering money for kalashnikovs in South Ossetia. I am behind this idea.
According to the NY Times, because Russia has guaranteed security for South Ossetia, South Ossetia is now asking residents to turn in their weapons. The police plan to offer $300 to $400 for each Kalashnikov rifle, a top official said.
So far, the police have collected or confiscated 100 machine guns — among them 15 American-made M-4 carbines, presumably lost by Georgian soldiers — and 110 pounds of explosives. In the near future, the police are planning to offer citizens from $370 to $470 in exchange for turning in guns and other weapons.
History lesson: Ossetians began collecting arsenals of kalashnikovs after their first clash with Georgians in 1989, where the weapon of choice was a wooden bat and during which 6 people died. Ossetians, out of a desire to protect themselves in the next inevitable clash, started trading Ladas and whole cows for kalashnikovs. Side note, I'm pretty sure even semi-healthy cows are more valuable than Ladas. I hope cow traders got twice as many kalashnikovs.