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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Curious Crowd Checks Out Guns

MTPolice officers inspecting body armor on display Monday at the Interpolitech security fair at the All-Russian Exhibition Center.
If the long waiting lines were any indication, the public's interest in the guns, body armor and high-tech security gizmos was high as the sixth Interpolitech fair of security equipment opened Monday, just two weeks after dozens of armed guerrillas entered Moscow unchallenged.

More than 400 exhibitors from across the former Soviet Union and much of Europe were on hand at the All-Russian Exhibition Center for the annual exposition that runs through Thursday.

All visitors have to go through metal detectors to make sure they are unarmed before they get inside and have the chance to buy a weapon. The crowd of people wandering between booths Monday was composed of those with the money and licenses needed to make purchases and those who just wanted to play with guns.

"They let you touch the weapons and pick them up," said Alexander Ivanov, 16, who skipped school to attend the expo.

He then rushed off to the Soldier of Fortune magazine stand.

Most expo-goers will be touching, not buying, at the booths showcasing army communications systems and automatic rifles, which require special permits to buy.

Those without police or special services passes are not allowed in one area of the hall guarded by the Federal Security Services, where presumably all of the James Bond-type goodies are on display.

With counter-terrorism the hot topic on the expo's round-table agenda, one quick-thinking exhibitor was offering posters with a photo of a rifle-wielding special forces officer and the caption: "The special forces warn you that taking hostages is dangerous for your health."

Alexander Golodyayev of the Expert company was showing off his invention Monday, a fiber optic sight that allows the user to peer around corners without being seen. The device is being marketed for snipers and hunters.

"It's being used in Chechnya now," Golodyayev said proudly, although he did concede that the first OMON officer to use it in Chechnya was injured within a week.

A number of firms focused on body armor, with one saying it could withstand sniper shots from five meters.

"You get a contusion for a few minutes, but within 15 you're in fighting order," said Valery Chistyakov, the head of production at the Zashchita firm.

Potential buyers who love animals might be interested in learning that Chistyakov said the Interior Ministry tests all armor on dogs and pigs before it is sold.

With his fingers attached to sensors, Konstantin Zubrilov, a top official with Rusichi, demonstrated what he claimed to be one of the most advanced lie detectors in the world.

With this, Zubrilov said, he once helped discover which of six employees in a company had stolen $75,000 from the office safe and where the money was hidden.

There also was a big businessman who forced his pregnant wife to take the test to see whether the child was his, said Zubrilov, who seemed to be telling the truth although he had already removed the sensors from his fingers.

As well as guns and security gadgets, the exhibition throws up the odd surprise such as a stand advertising rose-pruning shears and another offering Russian stamps.

Interpolitech is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and runs through Thursday at Pavilion 69 of the All-Russian Exhibition Center. Metro VDNKh.