- Oct 3, 2009
The inventor of the iconic AK-47 assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died at the age of 94. "Today news sad news has arrived that Mikhail Kalashnikov has died after a lengthy illness," said the statement from the press secretary of the Udmurtia administration Viktor Chulkov. Kalashnikov, who had been suffering from heart-related problems in recent years, had been in intensive care in Izhevsk - where the plant that produces the eponymous rifles is located - since November 17. For most of his life, Kalashnikov was feted as an uncontroversial hero. The self-taught peasant turned tank mechanic who never finished high school, but achieved a remarkable and lasting feat of engineering while still in his twenties. But as the rifles, inextricably linked forever to their creator by name, were more and more commonly seen in the hands of terrorists, radicals and child soldiers, the inventor was often forced to defend himself to journalists. He was forever asked if he regretted engineering the weapon that probably killed more than any other in the last fifty years. "I invented it for the protection of the Motherland. I have no regrets and bear no responsibility for how politicians have used it," he told them. 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."
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Renowned rifle inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at 94 — RT News