View Full Version : Kalashnikov Inventor Laments Proliferation

06-11-2006, 07:57 PM
11 June Associated Press - Kalashnikov Inventor Laments Proliferation (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/11/AR2006061100289.html).

Mikhail Kalashnikov says he designed the assault rifle that bears his name to fend off the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

But six decades later, he laments its transformation into the worldwide weapon of choice for terrorists and gangsters...

Sturdy, simple and cheap, firing 600 bullets a minute, the world's estimated 100 million Kalashnikovs account for up to 80 percent of all assault rifles. In Africa's civil conflicts or in violence-ridden Latin American nations, it sells for as little as $15.

Its genesis dates to 1941, when Kalashnikov was in a hospital with severe wounds from a German shell that hit his tank in the battle of Bryansk in western Russia.

Thinking about the Soviet forces' inferiority due to their lack of an automatic weapon, he says he had a brainstorm one night and jotted down a rough design which he worked on for much of the next six months, assisted by Red Army colleagues...

It would become the Kalashnikov, also called the AK-47, for the year the design was completed. Two years later it became standard issue for the Soviet army.

It came too late for service in World War II, but it earned its reputation in the Cold War that followed, exported by the Soviet Union to arm Third World allies and insurgents.

It proved ideal for desert and jungle _ easily assembled and able to keep firing in sandy or wet conditions that would jam a U.S-made M-16...

Today, it's the first piece of technology many children in conflict zones will encounter. Boy soldiers routinely carry Kalashnikovs.

It has also come back to haunt the modern Russian army. In the war in Chechnya, both sides wield Kalashnikovs...