Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose last name is connected forever with his world famous assault rifle, died on the 23rd of December, 2013. He was one of the most outstanding military men in the history of the USSR. The Russian hero was awarded numerous medals of honor and decorations. He was the only person who had the title of “Hero of the Soviet Union” and “Hero of Socialist Labor” (awarded twice).
His life began in a little village called Kuriya situated in the Republic of Altai in a family of a prosperous peasant who had 18 children. When Mikhail Kalashnikov was a child he was fond of engineering and such subjects as geometry and physics were his main interest in school. His first job was a clerk at a railway station in Kazakhstan. There he stayed in touch with locksmiths and turners and deepened his technological knowledge.
During World War II he was a tank commander but was injured near Bryansk and as a consequence ended up in a hospital. At this particular time he started to make sketches for his future rifle. The first examples were not well received, however, after a competition in 1947 he achieved considerable success with his model dubbed AK-47 (with A standing for automatic rifle, K for the last name of its creator and 47 marking the year of its invention). Two years later this weapon was included in the inventory in the USSR military. Nowadays this rifle is used in more than one hundred countries around the world.
Mikhail Kalashnikov possessed many talents and was a handy-man. Once he became very anxious about the ecological situation of his native region, especially regardning deforestation. So he came up with an idea to create a device that made it possible to prepare food in the forest without cutting trees for a campfire. For his friends he created a charcoal grill with skewers that could be turned by one hilt.
During his long life this gifted man became the author of many types of machine guns and semi-automatic carbines. Although many might argue that the AK-47 facilitated a number of conflicts, Kalashnikov honestly believed in nonaggressive purposes for his rifle. It was created during the war with fascists and was aimed to put an end to the massacre happening in Russia, especially in St Petersburg during the Blockade. Kalashnikov once said that he would have been an agricultural engineer World War II hadn’t happened. Whether you are connected to the military or not, the name of this distinguished man will be always remembered by future generations for his challenging task of defending his Fatherland.