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Father of the AK-47 Dies at 94

KalashnikovInventor of the world's most popular rifle, the AK-47, died Monday at the age of 94.

Mikhail Kalashnikov had always said he initially sought to build agriculture machinery, not weapons, yet he ended up designing the most used assault rifle in history. Tens of millions of the rifle and it's variants have been produced and spread across the world.

Known for its reliability even in the worst of conditions, the AK-47 dispersed quickly as word spread of its ease of use. The rifle has since transformed into a symbol of war and even revolution as the AK-47 has adorned many revolutionary flags.

Kalashnikov is credited with the creation of the AK-47 even though many suspect he had quite a bit of help. Yet the Kremlin's propaganda machine held Kalashnikov up as the peasant who became a Red Army solider and turned into one of the most famous weapons designers in history.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in 2007 that the Kalashnikov rifle "is a symbol of the creative genius of our people" at an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the rifle.

Kalashnikov fought the Nazis in World War II as a member of the Red Army. He came up with the design for the AK-47 as he recovered from wounds sustained when the tank he was in was hit by a shell in the 1941 battle of Bryansk.

The Soviet army started issuing the AK-47 in mass in 1949.

"Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer," Kalashnikov has said. "I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery."

Kalashnikov died in a hospital in Izhevsk. A cause of death was not given when the president of the Udmurtia republic confirmed Kalashnikov's death. He had been hospitalized with unspecified health problems, according to an AP report.

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