Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

BREAKING NEWS. Legendary Russian Arms Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov Dies at 94. Вечная ему память

00 Mikhail Kalashnikov. 24.12,13

You can have the Duck Dynasty blowhards (who’re all affluent effluent greedsters) or you can have decent and modest men such as Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov. I prefer Mikhail Timofeyevich… what about you?


When a young man, I read the following somewhere:

“God Almighty said, ‘All that’s too complex is unnecessary; we need things that are simple’”.

Therefore, that became my lifelong dictum… I’ve created simple and reliable weapons to defend the borders of my motherland.

Mikhail Kalashnikov


The creator of the iconic AK-47 assault rifle, Lieutenant General Mikhail Kalashnikov, died in the intensive care unit at the Central General Hospital in the Udmurt Republic. He was 94 years old. Born in 1919, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was the seventeenth child of well-off peasants. When he was eleven, the government confiscated his parents’ land, like many other people in Stalin’s time, and exiled the family to Siberia. Since 1949, Mikhail Kalashnikov lived and worked in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurt Republic. He received a Doctor of Science and was a member of 16 academies. Over the course of his career, he evolved his basic AK-47 rifle design into a whole family of weapons.

The AKM, or Modernised Kalashnikov Assault Rifle {literally, Avtomat, “automatic”: editor}, appeared in 1963. It was lighter and cheaper to manufacture than the AK-47. From the AKM, Kalashnikov developed the RPK light machine gun and the PK general-purpose machine gun. He always designed simple weapons that were easy for troops to maintain in the field under all operating conditions. Kalashnikov received many awards for his work and then-President Dmitri Medvedev named him a Hero of the Russian Federation in 2009, saying that he created “a brand that every Russian’s proud of”. By 2009, various makers produced about 100 million AK-47 assault rifles; about half of them are counterfeit, manufactured at a rate of nearly a million per year. Izhmash, the official AK-47 manufacturer in Russia, only patented the weapon’s design in 1997, and, in 2006, accounted for only 10 percent of the world’s production. Kalashnikov himself stated that service to his country and not money motivated him; he made no direct profit from weapon production.


The presidential press service announced that President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to General Mikhail Kalashnikov’s friends and family after the death of the outstanding small arms designer. Kalashnikov died on 23 December after a prolonged serious illness. He was 94 years old.


00 Mikhail Kalashnikov 01.12


The prominent small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, who developed the most famous assault rifle in the world, passed away on 23 December at the age of 94 years. Today, more than 100 countries use his legendary AK-47. Kalashnikov is famous all across the globe. He was a living legend, an honorary member of several academies and universities in Russia, China, and the USA. The French newspaper Libération included his assault rifle on a list of outstanding inventions of the 20th century.

Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was born on 10 November 1919, in Altai Krai (western Siberia) in a peasant family with many children. In 1938, the government conscripted him into the army, where he served in a tank regiment. Then, Kalashnikov started to show off his inventor’s skill. He created a counter of shots from a tank gun, a special device for a TT semi-automatic pistol (used in the Soviet Army from 1931 until the 1960s) to make it easier to shoot through openings in a tank turret, and a device for registering a tank motor’s operating time. In August 1941, Kalashnikov went to the front fighting the Nazis. He suffered wounds in battle, so, he was on convalescent leave for six months. During this hiatus, Kalashnikov created the first model of a submachinegun of his own. In 1944, he created a semi-automatic rifle, which was the first prototype of now-famous Kalashnikov assault rifle. In 1947, state tests found that Kalashnikov’s brainchild was very effective. Often, Kalashnikov said that he created his weapons for rank-and-file grunts like himself. Unanimously, both Russian and foreign experts call the Kalashnikov assault rifle the best weapon of the 20th century and it has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Kalashnikov-designed weapons are easy-to-use, reliable, and rugged. At present, there are more than 150 million Kalashnikov weapons in the world.

Igor Korotchenko, the Editor-in-Chief of Национальная оборона (Natsionalnaya oborona: National Defence) magazine stated, “Mikhail Kalashnikov’s brainchild is more than a weapon. The Kalashnikov is a symbol of the skill of Russian weapon inventors and producers. In fact, what the world knows as ‘the Kalashnikov’ is a whole series, of modified models of Kalashnikov’s initial weapon. I’m not sure that I can name another person who’s done as much for Russia’s military strength as Mikhail Kalashnikov has. The Russian services still use the Kalashnikov and its derivatives. I don’t think it’d be an exaggeration to call Mikhail Kalashnikov a real genius. One should emphasise that he was a self-made man, an autodidact.”

At present, there are 150 models of weapons based on Kalashnikov’s invention in the world, including a hand-held automatic pistol, a carbine, and smooth-bore guns. Mikhail Kalashnikov was a restless man. Even at an advanced age, he never stopped working. He used to say to young ordnance engineers who asked his help, “I’ve lived a long life, but I’ve still done too little. I feel myself obliged to keep on working. We have to strengthen Russia’s security, and, please, remember… I’m always here to help you”.

Svetlana Kalmykova


00 Mikhail Kalashnikov. Russian,Soviet inventor 01. 16.12.13


Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man who designed the AK-47 assault rifle, also known as the “Kalashnikov”, died this Monday at the age of 94. Aleksandr Goltz, Russian military analyst and deputy chief editor of Russia’s political magazine Nedelya (Weekly), commented on this to VOR.


How significant was Mikhail Kalashnikov’s contribution to the weapons industry?

Aleksandr Goltz

He was a great man and, of course, his name is something like Colt, or Maxim, in the design of the machine gun. I’m sure that his name will be live for the next few decades; it’s one of the more recognisable Russian names, such as Sputnik or Cosmonaut or something like that.


God willing, maybe, even centuries…


God knows how long this gun will be available but, of course, it’s a huge achievement in Russian design. We can compare Kalashnikov with Korolyov who designed Russian rockets, as one of the few famous designers whose names will live for a very long time, no doubt.


Do you think that his creation of the AK-47 contributed to more bloodshed in the world?


Of course, but we can’t blame Kalashnikov for that. If it wasn’t him, somebody else would’ve invented a similar weapon. Today, on the day of his death, it’s important that we remember his generosity and design skill.


It’s very interesting to point up this quote from Kalashnikov… “I invented it to defend the motherland and I have no regrets. I bear no responsibilities for how politicians used it”.


It’s true. Can we blame Colt for doing likewise?


00 Mikhail Kalashnikov. Russian,Soviet inventor. 16.12.13


Mikhail Kalashnikov died at the age of 94; he not only created the legendary AK-47 and AKM, he was a frank and thoughtful person. God gave him years of long life to prove the old truth… one should live long in Russia. There were many times that he “should’ve died”, but he survived. Let’s try to figure it out. He was born in a village in 1919 during the Civil War, in Altai Krai, in a peasant family. In the Altai, the Civil War and later peasant uprisings were particularly brutal. Then, collectivisation happened… in 1930, they branded his family “kulaks” and sent them north, to Tomsk Oblast. In 1938, he joined the Red Army.

So, let’s tote it up… he was born in 1919, of peasant origin, even in childhood he lost his freedom. He had all the prerequisites for a short life… in the Great Patriotic War, most dead were young people, especially, those born in 1919-23. They chose country people to be in front-line units; often, city people managed to get into rear services, not the dangerous branches. Kalashnikov saved his life back then due to his ability to do things, which the Soviets valued very much. After that, he landed in danger again… he went to war in August 1941 as a tank commander at a most wobbly time. He managed to survive, and even when he was in hospital for wounds, he decided to design a gun, and the authorities supported this idea. Instead of frontline duties, Kalashnikov did military-technical work. During this time, he managed to develop a submachinegun along with a self-loading rifle. In 1945, he took part in a state test for new weapons. He won! This is how legendary АК-47 was born.

Dangers passed him one after the other as if to give him an opportunity to say a word, to leave something for his country (that he loved enormously). At first, it was only possible with his weapons… after the AK-47, the AKM appeared, then, the Saiga hunting rifle… finally, an opportunity came to have a say in writing. He did so because he outlived the harsh Stalinist authorities. Many other brilliant designers are gone without being able to share with future generations not only their technical inventions, but their views on life as well. For instance, to take only one instance, Sergei Korolyov was “in the dark” for many years. Kalashnikov managed get his full voice and write his memoirs only at the end of the 1980s, when he was practically 70.

Who would have thought it… Soviet citizen Kalashnikov became greater than Eugene Stoner, his competitor and good friend, the American inventor of the M16 rifle. He didn’t like journalists, but in a brief period of American-Soviet thaw in the late 1980s, both men were able to meet and talk to each other. The atmosphere at that point was better… it was 40 years since the time of the Kalashnikov’s invention during the Cold War. Remember, the first Soviet atomic bomb came at the same time in 1949. It’s no wonder that anti-Soviet émigré Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky got excited, saying, “With the atomic bomb, no one will touch Russia!” Let’s add that nobody touched Russia as it had the Kalashnikov as well. Apart from Stoner and other American colleagues, it was hard for Kalashnikov to look at the consequences of his inventions… all the wars starting from the 1950s used his guns. This wasn’t what Kalashnikov wanted. However, this is the nature of any weapon… people can use them to torture, but honest people can use them for self-defence.

The Kalashnikov rifle is part of the coat-of-arms of Zimbabwe, East Timor, and Burkina Faso. All these countries freed themselves from colonial rule thanks to it (the South African song Bring Me My Machine (Gun) became the anthem of freedom for the black population of the African National Congress). Kalashnikov’s weapon turned out to be a weapon used by bold “solo wrestlers”, equalising their chances in the fight against the oppressors. It saved the USSR from external aggression for almost half a century, allowing the country to win the battle without even starting one. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it due to him that we had years of peace, thanks to this hero who prepared for war his whole life?

Dmitri Babich


Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev offered his condolences to the family of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, who died at the age of 94 in Izhevsk on 23 December. Medvedev said on his Facebook page, “The death of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov is an enormous and irreparable loss for our entire country. This legendary designer of small arms devoted his life to serving the Motherland and enhancing its security. We’ll always remember this outstanding person”.


The burial of world-famous small arms maker Mikhail Kalashnikov may be on 26 December in Izhevsk, 965 kilometres (600 miles) east of Moscow, official sources in the Udmurt Republic said. Reportedly, the burial of the designer of the famous AK-47 assault rifle will be “in one of the Izhevsk cemeteries”. A source close to the governor told reporters that they expect that a number of foreign guests would attend the funeral. On Monday, Kalashnikov passed away at 94 after a lengthy illness.

23/24 December 2013

Voice of Russia World Service








Editor’s Note:

I wrote this a week ago. It’s all still true… I changed not a word:

Ask any real serving grunt out there… “What kind of weapons would you trust to preserve your life when the shit hits the fan?” All the ass-in-the-grass old salts would say, “Give me those Russian weapons. They’re a breeze to maintain, they never jam, and they never fuck up in the clutch“. Russia knows a thing or two… it knows that the simpler a weapon is, the more rugged it is and the more easier it is to use. Russian weapons designers craft their products so that half-drunken retarded chimpanzees can use them. American designers (and German designers in World War II) build in all kinds of fancy frou-frou that makes their products harder to operate and MUCH harder to maintain. When it works, it clears the field… when it works. The Panther tank spent more time in the shop than it did in the field. The T34 lived for months in the mud and ticked like a Swiss watch. To put the cherry on the sundae, Russian weapons are far less expensive than their American counterparts are (although a good part of that is due to the rampant world-champion-class corruption in the US Congress and amongst corporate executives). Hand an American soldier an AK or RPG, and he’ll smile (he just might live to see tomorrow). Hand them an M16 or a LAW, well, they won’t frown if the cameras are on (they’re known to crap out at the worst possible times). If they can get their hands on Russian ordnance, they’re in heaven… as for American-made rubbish… the less said, the better.

This is truth.

Вечная ему память, раб божий Михаил Тимофейевич…



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