Press Esc to close
Tuesday 03 March 2015
News updated at 12:50 PM IST
Weather
Max: 31.7°C
Min : 16.9°C
In Bengaluru
clear sky

Russia's Kalashnikov, designer of AK-47, dies: reports

Moscow, Dec 23, 2013 AP
Mikhail Kalashnikov with his rifle. Reuters File Image

Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalised in the name of the world's most popular firearm, died today at the age of 94.

Kalashnikov once aspired to design farm equipment. But even though his most famous invention, the AK-47 assault rifle, sowed havoc instead of crops, he 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.

Kalashnikov died in a hospital in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic where he lived, said Viktor Chulkov, a spokesman for the republic's president. He did not give a cause of death. Kalashnikov had been hospitalised for the past month with unspecified health problems.

The AK-47, "Avtomat Kalashnikov", and the year it went into production, is the world's most popular firearm, favoured by guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies. An estimated 100 million guns are spread worldwide.

Though it is not especially accurate, its ruggedness and simplicity are exemplary: it performs in sandy or wet conditions that jam more sophisticated weapons such as the US 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.

The weapon's suitability for jungle and desert fighting made it nearly ideal for the Third World insurgents backed by the Soviet Union, and Moscow not only distributed the AK-47 widely but also licensed its production in some 30 other countries.

The gun's status among revolutionaries and national-liberation struggles is enshrined on the flag of Mozambique.

Kalashnikov, born into a peasant family in Siberia, began his working life as a railroad clerk. After he joined the Red Army in 1938, he began to show mechanical flair by inventing several modifications for Soviet tanks.

The moment that firmly set his course was in the 1941 battle of Bryansk against Nazi forces, when a shell hit his tank.

Recovering from wounds in the hospital, Kalashnikov brooded about the superior automatic rifles he'd seen the Nazis deploy; his rough ideas and revisions bore fruit five years later.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Cambodian artists presenting dance-drama at the International Ramayana Mela...

Cambodian artists presenting dance-drama at the International Ramayana Mela...

Cyclist at the Rajpath as the national capital received early morning showers in New Delhi...

Cyclist at the Rajpath as the national capital received early morning showers in New Delhi...

A waterlogged street after the early morning showers in the national capital...

A waterlogged street after the early morning showers in the national capital...

A train moves through snow covered railway track as the region received heavy snowfall in Anantnag..

A train moves through snow covered railway track as the region received heavy snowfall in Anantnag..

Artists dressed up as Hindu deities Lord Krishna and Radha play Holi...

Artists dressed up as Hindu deities Lord Krishna and Radha play Holi...

People throw coloured powder as they celebrate Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon...

People throw coloured powder as they celebrate Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Syeed..

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Syeed..

Sangakkara and Thirimanne celebrate beating England in their Cricket World Cup match...

Sangakkara and Thirimanne celebrate beating England in their Cricket World Cup match...

Sangakkara congratulates team mate Perera who celebrates talking the wicket of England's Morgan...

Sangakkara congratulates team mate Perera who celebrates talking the wicket of England's Morgan...

Pakistan players celebrate with wicket of Zimbabwe's Chamunorwa Chibhabha during ...

Pakistan players celebrate with wicket of Zimbabwe's Chamunorwa Chibhabha during ...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523