The inventor of the most popular assault rifle in the world has passed away at the age of 94. Mikhail Kalashnikov became famous during the Cold War after he developed the Soviets preferred weapon of choice, the AK-47.
Kalashnikov was born a peasant in the Soviet Union and had no proper education. He taught himself to be a tank mechanic and did not begin working with weapons until after he was shot in the shoulder during WW2. His AK-47 became very successful for a few reasons, the most important being its durability and low cost. At one point the AK-47 could be purchased in some desperate places in the world for as little as $15.
Kalashnikov was never “comfortable” with the reason for his fame.
“I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example a lawnmower. Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question: ‘How did it get into their hands? I didn’t put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists, and it’s not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon? It is painful for me to see when criminal elements of all kinds fire from my weapon.”
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