The major general Michail Timofejewitsch Kalaschnikow was awared with all honoraries of Russia and belongs to the most popular figures of the former Soviet Union. His name became well-known around the world for his invention of the fully automatic gun AK-47 (Awtomat Kalaschnikowa obrasza 47).
During the power of Stalin his family (with a total of 18
children) were deported to Tomsk in 1930.
Already in his youth he wrote first poetries and they expected that he would make a career as a poem. He wrote six books but chose an other professional direction. His passion remained and he wrote poems is whole life.
After the end of school he made a technical education at the Tukestan - Sibirian Railway and afterwards worked asa technician.
When he was drafted to the Red Army at the age of 19 he was responsible for the maintenance of tanks.
When Germany attacked Russia during World War II, Kalaschnikow was involved as a tank commander. In autumn 1941 during the battle near Brjansk he became seriously injured at his shoulder.
During his stay in the military hospital he overheards soldiers
from the military hospital that they were complaining about the bad
function of their Russian guns.
This piqued the ambition of the technician within Kalaschnikow and he designed first plans for the conception of a new gun.
The military leadership soon realized the abilities of
Kalaschnikow and nominated him as the leading weapon design engineer
of the USSR.
After different models the prototype AK-47 was introduced in 1947 for the first time and in 1949 (other sources say 1956) it became the official gun of the Sovjet army. A more modern version came in 1959 into being called AKM.
Michail Kalaschnikow did not expect in his fondest dreams that his
gun would not only be used by the Russian army but captured the
global market in the next decades.
But this is what happened. There were countless copies mit single modifications and the gun was distributed in communistic orientated countries especially. They soon called the gun only "Kalaschnikow".
One expect that there were built more than 80 millions of these guns. So the "Kalaschnikow" became the most successful export hit of Russia. Mozambique even used the "Kalaschnikow" in its emblem but the RAF in Germany as well.
The Sovjet Union decorated Michail Kalaschnikow many times for his merits, among them twice the title of "Hero of the socialistic work" in 1958 and 1976, once as "Hero of the Russian federation in 2009, the Stalin award in 1949 and the lenin medal in 1964.
Other honours followed even at old age, e.g. Boris Jelzin gave him the medal "For outstanding services for the fatherland, 2nd class" in 1994 and at the same time he was promoted to major general, five years later he became lieutenant major.
Today Michail Kalaschnikow lives in Ischewsk and he also demurs critical about the abusive use of his gun worldwide and the terror which is connected with his name.
Like many weapon design engineers before and afterwards (e.g. the
constructors of the A-bomb like Leo Szilard, who criticized the use
of the A-bomb in 1945 fiercely) Kalaschnikow expressed himself about
the ambition for creating the gun with a positive answer:
"My concern is to keep in mind by the mankind. And that as a human being who created a gun who protects the border of its country. It must not be elsewise. I never thought that my gun would be used in international conflicts".