The renowned Russian weapons maker behind the AK-47 assault rifle died at the age of 94 after a long illness.
"Today sad news has arrived that Mikhail Kalashnikov has died after a lengthy illness." Viktor Chulkov, spokesman for the president of the Udmurt Republic presidential spokesman
Kalashnikov aspired to design farm equipment, but will be remembered for his iconic AK-47 -- "Avtomat Kalashnikov" -- assault rifle. An estimated 100 million AK-47s have been built since the rifle was introduced in 1947. "Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer," said Kalashnikov.
Kalashnikov was born in Siberia in 1919, the 17th child of a peasant family. He never finished high school and joined the tank brigade ahead of World War II, during which time he showed an aptitude for engineering. He was decorated with numerous honors over his lifetime, but never became rich since his invention wasn't patented.
"I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence." Mikhail Kalashnikov
"My spiritual torment is unbearable. One and the same question: if my rifle killed people does that mean that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, 93 years of age, the son of a peasant, Christian and orthodox by faith, am responsible for people's deaths, even if they were enemies?" Mikhail Kalashnikov
The Kalashnikov group, Russia's largest arms manufacturer, said it is going to turn the former office of Mikhail Kalashnikov into a small museum "for the edification of our young [employees], whom we'll bring to the [manufacturing] plant, said Kalashnikov head Konstantin Busygin.
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