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AK-47 designer dies at 94

By Scott Tuttle     Dec 23, 2013 in Technology
On Monday, renown weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov passed away at 94 years old in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, which is a federal subject of Russia. Kalashnikov is most famous for designing the AK-47, the most popular assault rifle to date.
Originally aspiring to design farm equipment, the young Kalashnikov found himself very ashamed of his parents who fled the Soviet Union in exile during World War II. Determined to do his part for the advancement of his country, the young innovator shifted his focus to weapons design; a decision that would revolutionize warfare the world over.
"Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer. I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery," said Kalashnikov.
The Avtomatni Kalashnikova, or Automatic of Kalashnikov (AK) won in a 1947 Soviet competition to design the best submachine gun for the Red Army. Thus, shortly thereafter, the assault rifle which came to be known as the AK-47 would become the weapon of choice.
The Soviet Union not only mass produced the AK-47 for its own army, but also licensed 30 other countries to produce the weapon. Hundreds of millions of these killing machines have been made since, and countless dead bodies have given testimony to the effectiveness of their design.
When asked in a 2007 interview how he felt knowing that his invention caused so much death and chaos in the world, the elderly Kalashnikov responded by saying, "I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence."
Though Kalashnikov won many awards in his country and went on to be one of the top weapons designers in the world, he never got rich off the AK-47 because his design was never patented.
Kalashnikov continued to work for the same Izmash company that built the AK-47 well into his 80s, ending his career as the company's chief designer.
He had been in the hospital for the past month, though a spokesman declined to comment on his illness, and the cause of death remains unknown.
More about Ak47, Weapons, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Russia