“People say I would have been a billionaire if I was to live elsewhere in the West,” says Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Father of the Kalashnikov series of small arms weaponry.
Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, the former Red Army arms designer behind one of the world’s most well known weapons — the AK-47 and its variants and copies, used by militaries, terrorists, drug enforcers, revolutionaries and Jihadists — died December 23, 2013 in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic, where he lived. He was 94.
History and anthropology has proven that the lack of patent recognition (as the West normally provides) tend to hinder technological progression. This is the precise reason why many inventions in modern history took place by Western cultures. The plane, the car, the microchip — all Western inventions. The AK-47 — and the AK series of rifles — is considered among the most reliable assault rifles in existence. They are not the most accurate, nor the least in encumbrance. But they are the most durable, being able to be operational regardless of the sand, the dirt, the grime. It uses a 7.62 caliber bullet; while heavier its stopping power is formidable. The AK-47, born from the displeasure of a Soviet Army WWII Soldier being wounded by the world’s first assault rifle — the German STG-44 — is the most proliferated weapon on the planet. In it’s simplicity it’s so easy to keep and maintain even a child can use it, no exaggeration. The nation of Mozambique placed it on it’s flag despite not being a primary export of that nation. It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t recognize this weapon from movies, media, videogames or actual warfare or international conflict.
It’s rare that a prominent invention is born from a second world country. Being that he could have been a billionaire if he was the hero of another country, what motivated him? It was passion. It was cause. When it comes to passion meeting cause, and the WILL to follow through, groundbreaking results are made. This is the reason why he is a prominent figure in modern history. If not, he damn well should be.
“I am often asked, ‘how do you sleep knowing how many people were killed from your machine gun? I always say back ‘I sleep very well, thank you. It should be politicians that start wars that suffer from sleeping problems. My machine gun was made for defense. If it wasn’t for war, I would have been doing machines to help agriculture – so it was Germans who forced me to invent it.”
It is a fact known, that being the most proliferated small arms assault rifle the AK-47 has taken more lives than any other small arms rifle in existence. He states that he has slept well. He rationalizes that it is the politicians (to include his own Soviet/Russian ones) who should suffer the sleeping issues. Even from another nation, the rival one, I’ll have to agree.
Perhaps one reason he sleeps well, is the fact that he decided to make a vodka — a well known Russian cultural export — in his name, in an attempt to bring people together and tie his ingenuity to what he deemed more accurate towards his true intentions on agricultural inventiveness.
“I don’t like to talk too much, I am about keeping my word. And decency is what I appreciate in people most of all.”
And who cannot relate to that? While not an American hero, he is in fact a patriot — a patriot of another nation, that is. I urge one to respect that, regardless of national or political difference. With that said, regardless if you decide he’s the bad guy or not, may he rest in peace.