Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of world's best automatic rifle, dies at 94


Mikhail Kalashnikov, the legendary small arms designer died in the Republic of Udmurtia today, on December 23rd.

"It's difficult and hard to realize that Mikhail Kalashnikov is no longer with us. One of the most brilliant, talented and progressive Russian patriots, who gave his entire life to serving the Fatherland has passed away," President of Udmurtia Alexander Volkov expressed his condolences.

Udmurtia's Health Minister Vladimir Muzlo said that the causes of death would be exposed after the autopsy. According to regulations of the Health Ministry, patients who die in intensive care are subject to autopsy. 

Last week, it was reported that 94-year-old Mikhail Kalashnikov had been staying in intensive care unit of the republican clinical diagnostic center for a month, remaining in stable, yet heavy condition.

Kalashnikov is the designer of a system of automatic small arms that has been recognized as the world's best for half a century already. "I will be the first one  to shake hands with the one who makes a better automatic rifle," Mikhail Kalashnikov said more than 30 years ago.

Kalashnikov rifle is used in more than 100 countries; it is included on the list of most outstanding inventions of the 20th century. The name of Mikhail Kalashnikov was used to name the new concern that united Izhmash and Izhevsky Mechanical Works under one brand.

The father of Kalashnikov automatic rifle was hospitalized on November 17. In June of this year, Kalashnikov was hospitalized in Central Military Clinical Hospital in Moscow. Doctors conducted a series of medical procedures, and the designer returned home only in the beginning of September.

The world-famous gunsmith wrote several autobiographical books. He continued to work at the factory as the chief designer up to his old age. Mikhail Kalashnikov is the only person to be awarded with the title of Hero of Russia and twice Hero of Socialist Labor simultaneously.


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