Mikhail Kalashnikov: Was AK-47 inventor a 'merchant of death'?

Russian was proud of his cheap, reliable rifle, but regretted its widespread use as an 'offensive' weapon

LAST UPDATED AT 11:49 ON Tue 24 Dec 2013

HOW should the world remember the inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, a weapon that has "spread misery and death to every corner of the globe", asks the Los Angeles Times?

The paper seems to have reached a conclusion, describing Mikhail Kalashnikov, who has died aged 94, as "the merchant of death". It wishes he had invented the "AK-47 sowing machine" instead of the deadly weapon that has become synonymous with terrorists and rebels.
 
The AK-47 - a name that commemorates the year it won a Soviet design competition - is arguably the most abundant weapon in the world. Comprised of just eight parts, it is cheap and easy to manufacture. Tens of millions of Kalashnikovs have been made, says the New York Times, only a fraction of them in Russia.

More than 100 million AK-47s are in circulation and it remains in service with armies and elite units in 106 countries.
Kalashnikov publicly lamented the widespread distribution of his invention, the paper says, and its use by those operating outside of the law. The weapon was designed to protect his motherland, he said, not to be used by terrorists or thugs. "This is a weapon of defence," he said. "It is not a weapon for offense."

Kalashnikov once admitted that he would rather have invented a lawnmower than an assault rifle, but he was nonetheless proud of the weapon and its reputation for reliability. The AK-47 continues to fire when it is wet, dirty or un-oiled.

The weapon's design is certainly distinctive. "Their short barrels, steep front-sight posts and curved magazines made them a marker of conflict that has endured for decades, the NYT says.

The "heyday" of the AK-47 was the Cold War when Soviet and Chinese sponsorship of anti-colonial movements made it a "potent symbol of anti-imperialist struggle," the Daily Telegraph says. During the Vietnam war it was "not unknown" for US Marines to throw away their US-made carbines in favour of an AK-47 captured from the enemy.

The Telegraph points out that while the weapon made him a household name, Kalashnikov received "virtually no royalties" from his invention and lived modestly in the Urals.

The Daily Mirror says the AK-47 has the dubious distinction of having killed more people than any other gun. It is so ubiquitous, the paper says, that in some African nations a newborn is given the name Kalash - in honour of the assault rifle. · 

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Careful, labelling him as a merchant of death would fire back and expose thousands of merchants of death worldwide.

Thought he born in
Czechoslovakia ? and designed many weapons. The Russians like to think there invention after invading Czech country

Absolute tripe he didnt fire every weapon now did he!!! If it hadnt been his weapon it would have been somebody elses you cant disrespect him for inventing something reliable .

What a load of tripe, you might as well blame the Chinese for inventing gunpowder.... guns do not kill people, people kill people with sticks, stones, cars, guns, bombs, and anything they can get their hands on!

No, he was a Russian tank Sergeant.

He invented the weapon so that Russia could be defended having seen what happened to the guns used in the second world war. He was a patriot, a great inventor, not a mass murderer!

Frankly I think America has to look at its contribution to how the word is today Kalashnikov was a home grown boy just like American boys whos goverment sent so many to an early death need I say more if you look at the world today I think you will find more Yankee involvement than Russian god bless President Bush (not)

Genius, he designed and built a weapon which was cheap to mass produce and worked without modification in every theatre of war from the artic to the desert areas. While the UK was beset with problems with the SA 80 and its forbear the SLR to work without jamming in moderate climates. The USA M16 also had its own problems. To blame the man is ridiculous. Do we blame the wright brothers for the bombing of Dresden or Coventry.
Credit where it is due the AK47 is a true masterpiece of modern warfare.

Testosterone is far more dangerous than any Kalashnikov rifle. It takes a testosterone-fuelled idiot, wherever he (or, sometimes, she) might be to actually use these creations.

Kalashnikov, was the designer (NOT the inventor). He was a patriot - he produced this assault rifle for his country when it was needed most.

No gun ever killed anyone........

Did the Chinese invent gunpowder?

Pure copy of Sturmgewehr 44 ( StG44)
Hugo Scmeisser the designer of AK-47
He captured and worked for red army 1945-1953

Well, I suppose then you personally either have low testosterone levels and are a safe weakling, or by your own theory you are dangerous. Either way, sad for your wife or girlfriend, or boyfriend if so be, not that there's anything wrong with that.

...23 years in the British Army, two years of which time I was in a Junior Leaders' Battalion, between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age, qualifies me to make that statement!

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