Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the world famous assault rifle, AK47, died in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, on Monday. He was 94.
He is said to have been battling a "long and painful illness, according to the The Moscow Times. Vladimir Muzlov, the health minister of Udmurtia said that the exact cause of death would be determined after an autopsy, which would have to be approved by Kalashnikov's immediate family first.
Mikhail is also said to have been suffering from age related problems and had spent two weeks at a local cardiology clinic in May. He was later flown to Moscow, where he was fitted with a pacemaker in June. His health had been on the decline since November.
Mikhail was born in 1919 in the Altai region to a peasant couple. His career as a designer started when he served in the Red Army during World War II. While in hospital, he overheard fellow soldiers complaining about current rifle models and set his mind on creating a better weapon.
As tribute to the legend, the inventor of AK 47, here are a few things about Mikhail and the 'deadly' machine, the AK 47:
- In his youth, Mikhail Kalashnikov wanted to be a poet and even wrote poetry his entire life.
- Through his invention of AK 47, he did not make any money directly, but he has franchised his name to makers of vodka, umbrellas and pocketknives.
- The AK 47 has eight moving parts, and it can be broken down and reassembled in 30 seconds.
- Though AK 47 is not really known for its accuracy, its ruggedness and simplicity are exemplary. It can outperform even sophisticated guns such as US M-16 in sandy or wet conditions without getting jammed.
- Guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies favour the AK 47, simply because of its ease of maintenance. An estimated 100 million AK 47 guns are in use around the world.
- In Yemen, the Kalashnikovs(Kalash or AK 47) are gifted as part of the traditional compensation process between fueding families, and sometimes even government give it away as a gift to honour a family or makeup for a loss.
- In Mozambique, the AK 47 is depicted on its national flag, as the weapon was pivotal in its freedom struggle against Portugal.
- Mikhail Kalashnikov started working on his design since 1941 and finished it in 1947. And that is why it is called Avtomat Kalashnikova - 47 or simply AK 47.
- It is believed that AK 47 has killed and is still used for killing the most number of people in the world, then any other gun.
Famous quotes of Mikhail Kalashnikov -
- "I'm proud of my invention, but I'm sad that it is used by terrorists ... I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work - for example a lawn mower."
- "Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer ... I always wanted to construct agriculture machinery."