December 23, 2013
Designer of Russia's Kalashnikov Rifle Dies
Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the world's most popular firearm, has died at age 94.
Kalashnikov designed the fabled AK-47 assault rifle in 1947 at the age of 20.
A spokesman for the Urmurtia republic, where he lived, says he died Monday in his home city of Izhevsk near the Ural Mountains.
Kalashnikov, a son of Siberian peasants, never finished school and said that he conceived of the weapon while recovering from wounds during the 1941 Battle of Bryansk against Nazi forces.
The Kalashnikov rifle is known as a weapon of choice for guerrilla forces, terrorists and military groups around the world who applaud its sturdy construction and performance in adverse conditions.
The AK-47's name stands for Kalashnikov's Automatic and the year it went into production.
Kalashnikov has been praised by many Russian leaders over his career, and received the Hero of Russia award for the design. However, he never profited financially from the AK-47, which was never patented.