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 Mikhail Kalashnikov

Born:   10 November 1919
Deceased:   23 December 2013

military engineer


Mikhail Kalashnikov was born in November 1919 in the Kurya village of the Altai Territory. His family had many children. The boy went to school up to 1936, and after his 9th year, he started working as a technical secretary of political section of third department of Turkestano-Siberian railway.

Kalashnikov started military service in 1938 in Kiev, where he learned to be a tank driver and was sent to a tank regiment. It was the time, when Kalashnikov’s talent started to show. Mikhail invented a counter of tank gun shots, and Georgiy Zhukov, the commander of the troops, praised the inventor with a watch with his name on it. A great path of inventions opened in front of Mikhail Kalashnikov, but the Great Patriotic War started, and young man went to fight against enemies of his country. He was severely injured in 1941, when a bomb hit his tank. His character didn’t allow him to spend many time in hospital, thus Kalashnikov went to the library. Soon after he built his first submachine gun. The inventor showed his creation to the well-known military scientist Blagonravov and got a positive feedback.

First samples of Kalashnikov’s gun weren’t accepted to the army, but brought a priceless experience to the inventor. In 1945, when the Victory was close, Mikhail Kalashnikov started to construct an automatic weapon for 1943-year cartridges. He could never imagine that his weapon would successfully pass all tests. In 1948 he was sent to Izhevsk on a business trip. Young inventor never thought that this city would become his home. At that time, Kalashnikov worked on a self-loading carbine, and the final version of the weapon was much better than previously created carbine. While Kalashnikov was working on a carbine, his assault rifle AK-47 passed troop tests, and military authorities decided to accept it to the army. The new era – era of automatic weapons – began. In September 1949 Mikhail Kalashnikov got a permanent position in the chief designer department of “IzhMash” (Izhevsk Machines) plant and still holds this position. The inventor was busy with modernizing and improving of AK-47, adding 7.62 mm AKM and folding-stock AKMS to AK family. After switching to 5.45 gauge, AK family acquired three more short members.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is also famous for his machine guns – 7.62 mm RPK and folding-stock RPKS and etc. Another hobby of Mikhail Kalashnikov is creating hunting weapons – self-loading carbines “Saiga” became extremely popular in Russia and abroad. As for AK-47, this assault weapon got the title “the best invention of the twentieth century”, according to French “Liberation” newspaper.AK-47 is in use in 55 countries of the world.

Since 1953 Kalashnikov is the member of the Communist Party. For the invention of AK-47 Kalashnikov received the Lenin prize in 1964 and the State prize in 1998. Among Kalashnikov’s medals there are three Orders of Lenin and many other honorable orders and medals. Mikhail Kalashnikov is a Doctor of Technical Sciences and a member of many academies, including Russian Academy of Sciences. Classical music is one of his hobbies.

Kalashnikov died on 23 December 2013.




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