AK-47 inventor Kalashnikov turns 90

 
“Age is not significant. I have plenty of life left in me. But still, this is a special date and it needs to be celebrated,” the white-haired inventor said in remarks broadcast on Russian television.

Kalashnikov, whose tie was decorated with a metal pin shaped like an AK-47, smiled and read patriotic poetry to journalists in Izhevsk, his hometown located 1,300 kilometres east of Moscow.

He is considered a hero in Russia for designing the AK-47. Also called the “Kalashnikov”, the rifle and its variants are the weapons of choice for dozens of armies and guerrilla groups around the world. “In my 90 years, I feel myself to be a happy man,” he said in an interview.

Born in a Siberian village on November 10, 1919, Kalashnikov had a tragic childhood during which his father was deported under Stalin’s regime in 1930. Wounded during combat in 1941, Kalashnikov started working on his rifle in 1947, driven to design by Soviet defeats in the early years of World War II at the hands of far better armed German soldiers.

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