EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

December 24, 2013

Rifle designer Mikhail Kalashnikov dead at 94

MOSCOW (AP) — Mikhail Kalashnikov started out wanting to make farm equipment, but the harvest he reaped was one of blood as the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, the world’s most popular firearm.

It was the carnage of World War, when Nazi Germany overran much of the Soviet Union, which altered his course and made his name as well-known for bloodshed as Smith, Wesson and Colt.

Kalashnikov died yesterday at age 94 in a hospital in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic where he lived, said Viktor Chulkov, a spokesman for the republic’s president.

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.

The AK-47 — “Avtomat Kalashnikov” and the year it went into production — is the world’s most popular firearm, favored by guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies. An estimated 100 million guns are spread worldwide. Though it isn’t especially accurate, its ruggedness and simplicity are exemplary: it performs in sandy or wet conditions which 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 2007 at a ceremony marking the rifle’s 60th anniversary.

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.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston
Latest World News
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Today in History for April 18th Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Today in History for April 17th Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power Pope's Relic on Wheels Departs to Rome Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks
Photos of the Week