AK-47 inventor Kalashnikov dies in Russia at 94

Dec. 23, 2013 at 10:17 PM   |   0 comments

IZHEVSK, Russia, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Mikhail Kalashnikov, the developer of the AK-47 assault rifle, died in Russia Monday, Voice of Russia reported. He was 94.

Kalashnikov had been hospitalized in his hometown of Izhevk since Dec. 4. He had a pacemaker implanted in June and went home in September, RIA Novosti reported.

Voice of Russia noted more than 150 million of Kalashnikov's AK-47s have been manufactured since it was put into service in 1949 and it is now used in more than 100 countries. Scores of other weapons have been developed based on its design.

Kalashnikov was conscripted into the army in 1938, serving in a tank regiment. He was wounded and during his convalescence designed his first submachine gun. In 1944, he created the prototype of the AK-47, popular for its ease of use, reliability and durability.

"Mikhail Kalashnikov's brainchild is more than a weapon," Igor Korotchenko, editor in chief of the Russian magazine Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defense), said. "The Kalashnikov gun is a symbol of the skill of Russian weapon inventors and producers.

"I am not sure that I can name another person who has done as much for Russia's military strength as Mikhail Kalashnikov has. The Kalashnikov gun or its modifications are still used in the Russian army. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to call Mikhail Kalashnikov a real genius. And, it should also be stressed that he was a self-made man, an autodidact."

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