AK-47 maker turns 80

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at bom4.vsnl.net.in
Sat Nov 13 17:11:14 PST 1999

11 November 1999 : AK-47 maker turns 80 MOSCOW: Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the famous AK-47 assault rifle that is the world's most widely wielded weapon, turned 80 on Wednesday. An estimated 75 million AK-47s have been made since the model first entered production in Russia in 1947. China and several countries in Eastern Europe manufacture their own versions of the gun, famed for its reliability and sturdiness. ``Your name has deservedly become a mark of the highest quality, a symbol of Russia's power and security,'' President Boris Yeltsin said in a birthday message to Kalashnikov on Wednesday. Kalashnikov has said that he thought of building the weapon when, as a 21-year-old sergeant in World War II, he saw how the Red Army's outdated bolt-action rifle put it at a major disadvantage before the Nazis. Soviet leader Josef Stalin finally approved the design in 1947, choosing it over the offerings of several major Soviet defence manufacturers. Kalashnikov is now chief designer at the Izhmash joint-stock company in the city of Izhevsk, about 1,000 km east of Moscow. He has been given Russia's highest state awards and a bust in his hometown of Kurya, in the Altai region of southern Siberia, for designing the rifle. But he has never gotten a single kopeck in royalties. (AP)

For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service

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