To be precise it tends to lag slightly behind American tech in raw capacity but costs like 1/10 as much. Americans are too anti-intellectual and childish to be familiar with the idea of diminishing returns.
E.g, La Wik has to lie about what the AK costs. It's $350 vs. the M-16s $1500. Is the M-16 a better rifle? Sure. Shoots harder and more accurately. Weighs less. Also, you can get four AKs for every M-16. Is it four times better? Fuck no.
The M-16 shoots faster, so if you have too much money and need to get rid of it, you can send it down-range in the form of lead. Though of course four AKs shoot even faster than one M-16...
There are 100 million AKs to 8 million M-16s because there's over 10 times the demand for the superior product. Never mind four times, the M-16 would have to be over ten times as good to be worth the price due to nonlinear effects.
It's not. It jams instead. Not only more expensive up-front, it's prissy about maintenance. A diva gun.
Not coincidentally, the AK looks better.
The AK looks like it was made by real people, for real people, with real materials. The M-16 is bureaucracy incarnate. "Timmy, write me 16 pages on what a gun looks like." "Yes miss Umbridge." "No no Timmy, you didn't assign any work to Representative Pork Chops' district, add some bizarre crap nobody uses to the handle." "Did you laser-measure the iron sights? We can get the tolerances lower!"
The Pope is always an atheist and Stalin wasn't a Communist. Didn't go for egalitarianism. He knew he needed his German-Russian scientists working his weapons systems, and that's what he did. The result being that Soviet weapons are perfectly capable of blowing a fool up.
The downside being that Stalin, being the head of a masculine Fascism, couldn't be quite as unprincipled as America. E.g. he wanted a controlled opposition party like the Republicans but couldn't figure out how to set one up. Since Fascism is a bad idea, being more principled makes it more destructive and less stable.
Stalin was conscious and intentional about his unprincipled exceptions. Or possibly merely more masculine about it. A feminine Fascism can't do war? No shit. Worked that out on my own, did I?
Anyway the point is Stalin assigned competent folk to design his weapons and consequently the weapons are competent. I may have said it before: personnel is policy.