Reports: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of AK-47, Dies

By December 24, 2013NPR News
Mikhail Kalashnikov, with his AK-47, in 2002. Jens Meyer/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mikhail Kalashnikov, with his AK-47, in 2002. Jens Meyer/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose name will forever be connected to one of the world’s most popular and deadly weapons, has died, according to news reports from Russia.

Officials there tell news outlets including RT and RIA Novosti that the 94-year-old inventor of the AK-47 rifle died Monday at a hospital in the Udmurt republic. He had been “suffering from heart-related problems in recent years [and] had been in intensive care in Izhevsk,” RT adds.

As NPR’s Corey Flintoff tells our Newscast Desk, because it is “simple, rugged and easy to maintain, the AK 47 became the weapon of choice for armies in developing countries.” It also became popular with terrorists.

Kalashnikov, Corey adds, “said he designed the gun only for the protection of his fatherland, and that it was the fault of politicians if the weapon was misused. There are estimated to be more than 100 million of them around the world, at least half of them knock-offs of the Russian original.”

RT adds that “on a few occasions, when in a more reflective mood, the usually forceful Kalashnikov wondered what might have been. ‘I’m proud of my invention, but I’m sad that it is used by terrorists,’ he said once. ‘I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example a lawnmower.’ ”

The AK-47, All Things Considered noted in 2012, was designed in 1945 and was “the first gun to bridge the gap between submachine guns and long, heavy rifles. It was a simple, reliable, lightweight weapon that almost anyone could use. And once it was put into mass production, it was available to almost everyone.”

Journalist C.J. Chivers traced the weapon’s migration around the world in his book The Gun.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit

Read original article- Published December 23, 201312:13 PM

Reports: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of AK-47, Dies

Recent headlines

  • (Creative Commons photo by Velkr0/Flickr)

    Ask the Energy Desk: Are plastic bag bans better for the environment?

    Bans on plastic grocery bags have been cropping up across Alaska’s remote communities. Cordova’s ban went into effect last year. But so far, the larger cities in the state have yet to adopt one.
  • The Haines state trooper car parked outside of the courthouse. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)

    Alaska State Troopers plan to move Haines position to Bethel

    Things are not looking good for Haines’ Alaska State Trooper post. Trooper Director Col. James Cockrell intends to reassign Haines’ one trooper position to Bethel. The decision isn’t final yet, but the community conversation about how to handle the loss continued at a Public Safety Commission meeting this week.
  • Study shows rise in some prenatal exposure to opiates

    A new study from a Alaskan epidemiologist looks at infants who were exposed to opiates before birth. Unlike previous studies, it goes beyond the sharp rise in cases for a portion of the population to explore what happens next.
  • The dark areas are pink salmon between the falls in the Anan Creek south of Wrangell, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Troy Thynes)

    State cuts bring changes to Southeast commercial fisheries

    Commercial fisheries in Southeast Alaska have survived two years of state budget cuts but not without some changes. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Commercial Fisheries has cut some positions, ended some monitoring programs, and found some new funding sources.