Mikhail Kalashnikov


Mikhail Kalashnikov : biography

10 November 1919 –


  • Stalin Prize (1949)
  • Lenin Prize (1964)

Foreign decorations

  • Order of Honour of Belarus (1999)
  • Order of Friendship (Kazakhstan), First Class (2003)

Other honours

  • the home of Mikhail Kalashnikov in the village he set Courier lifetime bronze bust. (1980)
  • the name of the designer named projected prospect in Izhevsk (1994)
  • "Honorary Citizen of the Altai Territory." (1997)
  • Ministry of Economy of Russia award – The sign "of small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov" (1997)
  • Union of scientific and engineering organizations and the Government of Udmurtia established an award named after Mikhail Kalashnikov (1999)
  • Diamond company "Alrosa" extracted 29 December 1995 gem diamonds weighing 50.74 carats given the name "designer Mikhail Kalashnikov" (14.5 x 15, 0h15, 5 mm, quality Stones Black) (1999)
  • Mikhail Kalashnikov Cadet School in Votkinsk (2002)
  • Award in his name at the School of Weapon Skills of Izhevsk (2002)
  • Izhevsk State Cultural Institution "Museum of Mikhail Kalashnikov"
  • "Honorary Engineer of Kazakhstan" (Kazakhstan; 2004)
  • Gift from President Hugo Chávez, the highest award of the Republic – a copy of the famous sword of Simon Bolivar, which is a relic of Venezuela and the copy is equal to the highest award of the country. (2009)
  • The name of Mikhail Kalashnikov was given to the military department of the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg. (2009)
  • Izhevsk State Technical University was awarded the name of Mikhail Kalashnikov. (2012)
  • German knife company Boker has dedicated a series to him.

Early life

Kalashnikov was born in Kurya, Kuryinsky District, Altai Krai, Russia, to Aleksandra Frolovna Kalashnikova (née Kaverina) and Timofey Aleksandrovich Kalashnikov. His father was deported in 1930, that is, most of his family was deprived of property and deported to Siberia, to the village of Nizhnyaya Mokhovaya, Tomsk Oblast. In his youth, Mikhail suffered from various illnesses and was on the verge of death at age six. He was attracted to all kinds of machinery, but also wrote poetry, dreaming of becoming a poet. He went on to write six books and has continued to write poetry all of his life. Kalashnikov’s parents were peasants, but after deportation to Siberia had to combine farming with hunting, and thus Mikhail frequently used his father’s rifle in his teens. He has since continued hunting through his 90s.

After completing seventh grade, Mikhail, with his stepfather’s permission, left his family and returned to Kurya, hitchhiking for nearly 1000 km. In Kuriya he found a job in mechanics at a tractor station and developed a passion for weaponry. In 1938, he was conscripted into the Red Army. Because of his small size and engineering skills he was assigned as a tank mechanic, and later became a tank commander. While training, he made his first inventions, which concerned not only tanks, but also small weapons, and was personally awarded a wrist watch by Georgy Zhukov. Kalashnikov served on the T-34s of the 24th Tank Regiment, 108th Tank Division stationed in Stryi before the regiment retreated after the Battle of Brody in June 1941. He was wounded in combat in the Battle of Bryansk in October 1941 and hospitalized until April 1942. While in the hospital, he overheard some fellow soldiers complaining about the Soviet rifles of the time.

Seeing the drawbacks of the standard infantry weapons at the time, he decided to construct a new rifle for the Soviet military. During this time Kalashnikov began designing a submachine gun. Although his first submachine gun design was not accepted into service, his talent as a designer was noticed. From 1942 onwards Kalashnikov was assigned to the Central Scientific-developmental Firing Range for Rifle Firearms of the Chief Artillery Directorate of the Red Army.

In 1944, he designed a gas-operated carbine for the new 7.62×39 mm cartridge. This weapon, influenced by the M1 Garand rifle, lost out to the new Simonov carbine which would be eventually adopted as the SKS; but it became a basis for his entry in an assault rifle competition in 1946.