Mikhail Kalashnikov

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You may live to see the day when good prevails — it will be after I am dead. But the time will come when my weapons will be no more used or necessary.

Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov [Russian: Михаил Тимофеевич Калашников] (10 November 191923 December 2013) was a Russian general and small arms designer, most famous for developing the AK-47 assault rifle.


I'm proud of my invention, but I'm sad that it is used by terrorists. … I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example a lawnmower.
  • Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer … I always wanted to construct agriculture machinery.
    • As quoted in "AK-47 Inventor Says Conscience Is Clear" by Joel Roberts at CBS News (6 July 2007)
  • Before attempting to create something new, it is vital to have a good appreciation of everything that already exists in this field.
    • As quoted in "Organization Design: A Guide to Building Effective Organizations", by Patricia Cichocki and Christine Irwin, Kogan Page Publishers (Mar 3, 2014)

For Patriotism and Profit (2001)

Quotes of Kalashnikov, from "For Patriotism and Profit", by Robert Fisk, in World Press Review, Vol.48, No.7 (July 2001)
  • I was in the hospital, and a soldier in the bed beside me asked: "Why do our soldiers have only one rifle for two or three of our men, when the Germans have automatics?" So I designed one. I was a soldier, and I created a machine gun for a soldier. It was called an Avtomat Kalashnikova, the automatic weapon of Kalashnikov — AK — and it carried the date of its first manufacture, 1947.
  • You see, maybe all these feelings come about because one side wants to liberate itself with arms. But in my opinion, it is the good that prevails. You may live to see the day when good prevails — it will be after I am dead. But the time will come when my weapons will be no more used or necessary.
  • My aim was to create armaments to protect the borders of my motherland. It is not my fault that the Kalashnikov became very well-known in the world; that it was used in many troubled places. I think the policies of these countries are to blame, not the designers. Man is born to protect his family, his children, his wife. But I want you to know that apart from armaments, I have written three books in which I try to educate our youth to show respect for their families, for old people, for history.

Quotes about Mikhail Kalashnikov

  • Kalashnikov had already distinguished himself by inventing a device that counted the shells a tank had fired and now, as he recuperated from his wounds, he set about designing something that could rival the Germans' MP44. A hand-held sub-machinegun. Something that came to be known as the AK47. It wasn't actually read, as the name implies, until 1947, two years after Hitler's penis had been buried under the Kremlin, but that didn't stop it becoming by far and away the most successful gun in the whole of military history. No patent was ever taken out, which meant anyone with a foundry could set up shop and make one too. And they did. AKs were produced all around the world in such vast numbers that so far 70 million have been sold. And that in turn means that one person in 90 across the whole planet has got one. And as a result of that, it is said that the AK47 has killed more people than the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Think of any conflict since 1947 and it's a fairly safe bet that at least one of the sides has been using AK47s. The warlords in Mogadishu, the Vietcong in Vietnam, the Republican Guard in Iraq. This half-timbered gun has been a 50-year thorn in Uncle Sam's side.
    • Jeremy Clarkson, I Know You Got Soul: Machines With That Certain Something (2004), p. 115
  • Design is rarely art because design, when all is said and done, exists purely to make money. And yet the AK was never designed to do that. In fact Mikhail Kalashnikov lives today on nothing more than a Soviet Army pension. And that's why his most famous creation can be called an art form. And that's what gives it soul.
    • Jeremy Clarkson, I Know You Got Soul: Machines With That Certain Something (2004), p. 122
  • [In] 1944 Russian engineer Mikhail Kalashnikov, supported by a design team, began a competitive development against several other weapon producers to create a new selective-fire rifle that would use the intermediate round. It was a long process, and it should be noted that Kalashnikov himself was not the only key individual behind the design. Another central figure was Aleksandr Zaitsev, who convinced Kalashnikov of the need for a major redesign to enhance reliability. Yet with the war over, in 1948 their 'AK-47' entered army trials and the following year it was adopted as the standard Soviet rifle. In 1959, it was modernized- i.e. cheapened- in terms of its production methods, the receiver being a stamped design rather than machined steel. Other improvements of the AKM, as it was known, included a basic scoop-like muzzle brake, a Parkerized bolt and a wire-cutting bayonet device. The AKM became the defining, most widely distributed model in the AK series.
    • Chris McNab, "AK-47/AKM (1949)", ''Small Arms: The World's Greatest Small Arms From the Age of Automatic Weapons'' (2022), London: Amber Books, hardcover, p. 117-118
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