Monday, December 23, 2013

Father of AK-47, Mikhail Kalashnikov, dead at 94

Mikhail Kalashnikov a Red Army veteran of WWII and the creator of the world's most popular firearm — the AK-47 — has died at the age of 94.
MOSCOW — Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalized in the name of the world's most popular firearm, has died at the age of 94. 
The AK-47 — "Avtomat Kalashnikov" and the year it went into production — is favored by guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies. An estimated 100 million guns are spread worldwide. The AK-47 has been used to kill more people than any other firearm in the world.
Kalashnikov died Monday in a hospital in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic where he lived, said Viktor Chulkov, a spokesman for the Ural republic's president.   
Natalia Kolesnikova / Reuters
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian inventor of the globally popular AK-47 assault rifle, looks on during festivities to celebrate his 90th birthday at the Kremlin in Moscow in a photo from Nov. 10, 2009 photo.
Kalashnikov often said he felt personally untroubled by his contribution to bloodshed.   
"I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence," he said in 2007.
Though it isn't especially accurate, its ruggedness and simplicity are exemplary: it performs in sandy or wet conditions that jam more sophisticated weapons such as the U.S. M-16. 
"During the Vietnam war, American soldiers would throw away their M-16s to grab AK-47s and bullets for it from dead Vietnamese soldiers," Kalashnikov said in July 2007 at a ceremony marking the rifle's 60th anniversary

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