Kalashnikov Rifle Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary Today

Today marks fifty years since the creation of the Kalashnikov rifle. Presidential Plenipotentiary in the Privolzhsk Federal District Sergei Kirienko congratulated Mikhail Kalashnikov on behalf of the president on the fiftieth anniversary of his famous rifle. Mr Kalashnikov was twice named Hero of the Soviet Union. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, the meeting between Mr Kirienko and Mr Kalashnikov took place in Izhevsk on Monday, December 16, during Mr Kirienko's official visit to the district.

"It is difficult to overestimate your contribution to national security and defense capabilities. The Kalashnikov rifle is one of the highest technical achievements of our country and the whole country is proud of this," said Mr Kirienko. In reply Mr Kalashnikov thanked the Russian president for "valuing his modest work" and said that "he did not create the rifle to further international conflicts but merely for the defense of his homeland."

The Kalashnikov rifle was invented in 1942. A sample of the weapon was produced in the workshops of the Ordzhonikidze Aviation Institute which at that time had been evacuated to Alma-Ata. In June 1942 the sample was given a favourable report by the Dzerzhinsky Ordnance Academy. However the rifle was only used by the Soviet army in 1949 after several improvements and readjustments. Senior Sergeant Kalashnikov was awarded the Stalin award first class.

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