I designed AK-47s to defend USSR - it's not my fault terrorists use them


PDA






Desertdog
June 10, 2006, 03:03 PM
I designed AK-47s to defend USSR - it's not my fault terrorists use them
HENRY MEYER IN MOSCOW
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=854842006&format=print

IT WAS the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that motivated Mikhail Kalashnikov to design the assault rifle that bears his name. But, six decades later, he laments its transformation into the worldwide weapon of choice for terrorists and gangsters.

The 86-year-old Russian gun- maker says: "Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question, 'How did it get into their hands?'

"I didn't put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists and it's not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon?"

The question is especially acute, as an 11-day United Nations' conference on curbing the small-arms trade is due to convene later this month in New York. Mr Kalashnikov may send the delegates a statement.

Sturdy, simple and cheap, and firing 600 bullets a minute, the world's estimated 100 million Kalashnikovs account for up to 80 per cent of all assault rifles. In Africa's civil conflicts or in violence-ridden Latin American nations, they sell for as little as 8.

The weapon's genesis dates back to 1941, when Mr Kalashnikov was in hospital with severe wounds from a German shell that hit his tank in the battle of Bryansk in western Russia. Thinking about the Soviet forces' inferiority due to their lack of an automatic weapon, he had a brainstorm one night and jotted down a rough design that he worked on for much of the next six months, assisted by Red Army colleagues.

They worked, he says, "in a burst of enthusiasm, out of a huge desire to make a contribution to victory over the fascist invaders".

That weapon would become the Kalashnikov, also called the AK-47 after the year the design was finally perfected. Two years later, it became standard issue for the Soviet army.

It came too late for service in the Second World War, but it earned its reputation in the Cold War that followed, exported by the Soviet Union to arm Third World allies and insurgents.

The rifle proved ideal for desert and jungle - easily assembled and able to keep firing in sandy or wet conditions that would jam an American-made M-16 equivalent.

Although the Soviet Union is dead, the Kalashnikov's empire thrives. It is manufactured in updated models in more than a dozen countries and is used by the armed forces of more than 50 states, as well as militant groups from Afghanistan to Somalia.

It is seen in Osama bin Laden's videotapes and on the flags of Mozambique and the Hezbollah fighters of Lebanon. "We sold the weapons to some countries at a symbolic price, or even for nothing, with the aim of assisting national liberation struggles. Of course, this meant the Kalashnikov became available around the world," its designer says.

Today, it is the first piece of technology many children in conflict zones will encounter. Boy soldiers routinely carry the weapon. It has also come back to haunt the modern Russian army. In the war in Chechnya, both sides wield Kalashnikovs.

Viktor Myasnikov, a defence expert from the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper in Russia, says many imitations are produced in Africa.

At the UN conference, human rights groups will push for an international treaty banning the export of small arms and other conventional weapons to countries where they are likely to be used to destroy human rights.

Mr Kalashnikov says Amnesty International and Oxfam have asked him to write a statement for their campaign against small-arms proliferation, and he is thinking of sending a separate statement to the UN conference.

Izhmash, the company in the Russian city of Izhevsk that manufactures the AK series, refuses to name customers. Mr Myasnikov says the rifles have only been sold in their thousands each year, and that they are exported to Latin American and Middle East police. But a recent Venezuelan order for 100,000 has hugely boosted production.

Mr Kalashnikov is still the state-controlled company's chief designer. He never made any money from royalties because his invention was never patented: "At that time, patenting was not an issue... we worked for socialist society, for the good of the people, which I never regret."

He is proud that US soldiers in Vietnam and Iraq have compared the Kalashnikov well with the M-16.

Kenyan police said yesterday a man killed five people in a rampage with an AK-47. A mob beheaded his brother after failing to find him.

If you enjoyed reading about "I designed AK-47s to defend USSR - it's not my fault terrorists use them" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Firethorn
June 10, 2006, 04:13 PM
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the next Alfred Nobel? Well, except he doesn't have the money to start his own foundation.

Fact is, just about everything gets abused somehow. It's just that explosives and firearms are a little easier to abuse.

Terrorists use AK's so much for the very reason that the USSR, Commie Block, and poor nations used and loved them: They're cheap to make, easy to maintain, extremely reliable and accurate enough. Their ready availability in countries that only marginally secure them only exasperates the problem.

1 old 0311
June 10, 2006, 04:40 PM
I am sure the Wright Brothers would be thinking the same thing about their airplane:(

Kevin

Dave R
June 10, 2006, 04:52 PM
I agree with Mr. K's thoughts. Not his fault the terrorists use a good, inexpensive weapon. Maybe his country's fault they exported so many to so many different governments? Not my call. However,


At the UN conference, human rights groups will push for an international treaty banning the export of small arms and other conventional weapons to countries where they are likely to be used to destroy human rights. This scares the snot out of me. Anyone remember the last UN council on small arms? They really wanted a resolution CONDEMNING PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF SMALL ARMS. It was repeatedly vetoed by the US delegate, recently appointed by recently elected President Bush (first time around.) Final result was a resolution condemning illegal use of small arms.

I shudder to think how that might have turned out had AlGore appointed the delegate. If that first resolution had passed, would the (liberal-led) US government have endorsed the resolution? What would've happened next? Shudder.

Let's watch this one very, very carefully.

longeyes
June 10, 2006, 04:53 PM
No, not MK's fault, but he's not saying that the USSR and now Russia aren't selling them/giving them away to anyone with a trigger finger?

(One more thing we can't get in California.)

Hkmp5sd
June 10, 2006, 04:56 PM
At the UN conference, human rights groups will push for an international treaty banning the export of small arms and other conventional weapons to countries where they are likely to be used to destroy human rights.

Good thing China makes their own small arms. I wonder if North Korea does.

twency
June 10, 2006, 05:32 PM
Mr Kalashnikov is still the state-controlled company's chief designer. He never made any money from royalties because his invention was never patented: "At that time, patenting was not an issue... we worked for socialist society, for the good of the people, which I never regret."
I have no sympathy for this unrepentant socialist.

-twency

Langenator
June 10, 2006, 05:37 PM
You know, I was under the impression that the right to keep and bear arms IS a human right.

The problem is not the tool, it is in how it is used, and by whom.

Leanwolf
June 10, 2006, 05:37 PM
A couple of years ago, I read in one of the gun magazines that over the years, there have been over one billion AK47s manufactured. Nothwithstanding those that have been destroyed, etc., those are still a lot of AKs for the U.N. to confiscate.

FWIW. L.W.

Carl N. Brown
June 10, 2006, 05:50 PM
according to IANSA there are 650 million guns in the world,
one for every ten people, and 200 million are owned by private
citizens in the US.

I saw that "one billion" figure for AK production in an
earlier article about Mikhail in the MSM. I do not think
they have their facts right. BUT even the more realistic
figure of 60 to 70 million AKs would be one out of ten guns
in the world. Compare that to 6 million M1 carbines,
1 1/2 million Thomspons, or 4 million Winchest 1894s,
that is a lot of one model.

progunner1957
June 10, 2006, 06:10 PM
according to IANSA there are 650 million guns in the world,
one for every ten people, and 200 million are owned by private
citizens in the US.
So United States citizens own almost 1/3 of all the guns in the entire world?
Makes me proud to be an American!:D

Let's all do our part and see if we can get it up to 1/2!!

I gotta get me a few AK47's...

Car Knocker
June 10, 2006, 06:15 PM
I have no sympathy for this unrepentant socialist.

I don't believe he asked for any.

AF_INT1N0
June 10, 2006, 07:00 PM
I think MK's got it all wrong. AK's have been the guns of the people for several years. His firearms has no doubt saved millions from extermination from their own governments. Inexpensive, easy to use, easy to re-create. Hell, some of the afgans make their own; using charcoal kilns to harden the metal.

As far as not being able to get them in Califrornia, odd how those in charge wouldn't want that kind of weapon in PRK, isn't it? :scrutiny:

Damn fine rifle. hell they should do a Miller light toast to Mikail Kalishnakov

Mr. AK-47 inventer!

twency
June 10, 2006, 07:34 PM
I have no sympathy for this unrepentant socialist.
I don't believe he asked for any.
__________________
Ok, if we're going to be picky, I don't believe I said he did.

Whether or not he asked for any sympathy, he "laments" the use of his weapon by certain people, whose goals he disapproves of. He can lament all he wants, but I'm not going to shed any tears for him.

He made a gift to "socialist society", and "socialist society" passed on his gift to millions of enemies of the USA and our allies worldwide. He is unrepentant about supporting socialist society, even though socialist society willingly shared his invention with many of the people he "laments" having it.

I interpreted the tone of the story as an attempt to seek sympathy for the poor, misunderstood inventor, who never realized his weapon would be used for ill. I don't have any problem with his creation of the weapon (quite the contrary). I dislike his apparent ongoing support for the Soviet socialist movement.

I may have misinterpreted the tone of the original article, but that's where I was coming from with my comment. Does that help clarify it?

-twency

oh blanky
June 10, 2006, 08:11 PM
I think it's time for Mr. Kalishnakov to shut his piehole.

Who honestly give a crap what he thinks?

marshall3
June 10, 2006, 08:17 PM
I think every inventor should profit from his work. It's too bad Mr. K hasn't gotten a dollar for every AK made.

Car Knocker
June 10, 2006, 08:30 PM
Does that help clarify it?


Yes, it does. Thanks.

Car Knocker
June 10, 2006, 08:32 PM
Who honestly give a crap what he thinks?


A lot of people.

ugaarguy
June 10, 2006, 08:42 PM
"At that time, patenting was not an issue... we worked for socialist society, for the good of the people, which I never regret."

Let's look at this in context. If Eugene Stoner had said it, substituting democratic for socialist, folks in other parts of the world would call him an unrepentant capitalist. Kalishnikov was a patriot on the other side. He didn't want to build a terrorist tool; he wanted to build a tool to defend his country and their allies. We can disagree with his politics, and I do, but we can not argue he patriotism. I read in article a while back where he talked about meeting Eugene Stoner. He was shocked that Stoner had never been formally honored by his home country. Kalishnikov has many of the USSR's highest awards, but made nothing from his rifle; Stoner made a fortune, but was never officially recognized. Both men designed weapons for their respective sides of the world with patriotic duty being their primary motivation. The AK and AR families of rifles have developed into the premier military rifles in the world. Just as coalition soldiers are finding Iraqi's with old British Enfields even today we'll also undoubtedly see ARs and AKs all over the world fifty to one hundred years from now.

Technosavant
June 10, 2006, 08:44 PM
He designed a weapon which would ensure that millions of his own people would not be laid waste by an invading government.

Unfortunately, his own government used it themselves to accomplish the same ends, and they also exported it to other places where it has been the tool of both liberation and oppression.

I believe Mr. Kalashnikov is an honorable man, and designed the weapon with good intentions. Not because I know him personally, but because I have not seen anything to indicate otherwise. The inventor often has little to no control over the end uses of his or her inventions (for example, substances discovered in an attempt to create a pesticide have been used to kill thousands as nerve gas), and that which can be used for good can often be used for great evil. Moral responsibility lies more in the hands of the user than in the hands of the designer.

Cosmoline
June 10, 2006, 08:45 PM
This UN conference is an attempt at global gun control. If you dont' think the treaties drafted there can impact you, you haven't been paying enough attention. Even if the US refuses to sign their proposals, if the EU nations sign off on a treaty that, for example, requires them to sell only to nations with a registration tracking program from seller to seller, then you can kill all the European made firearms goodbye.

These animals must be STOPPED. They've already shown they have zero interest in stopping genocide around the world. Their efforts are aimed squarely at YOU AND ME--whom they have identified as the real enemy to globalization.

gc70
June 10, 2006, 10:10 PM
Even if the US refuses to sign their proposals, if the EU nations sign off on a treaty that, for example, requires them to sell only to nations with a registration tracking program from seller to seller, then you can kill all the European made firearms goodbye.While I am against UN proposals as a matter of principle, is this "example" an actual proposal or alarmist conjecture?

Hyunchback
June 10, 2006, 10:30 PM
In Africa's civil conflicts or in violence-ridden Latin American nations, they sell for as little as 8.

Oh? Can they ship to my FFL?

Hawkmoon
June 11, 2006, 12:15 AM
I also believe the Mr. Kalashnikov is an honorable man. If it makes any difference, Eugene Stoner, the designer of the M-16, also thought so. He and Kalashnikov met late in Stoner's life and became good friends. Why not? Both were talented designers, and both did exactly the same thing: design a rifle for their country to use for its own defense.

Koobuh
June 11, 2006, 03:19 AM
"I think it's time for Mr. Kalishnakov to shut his piehole.
Who honestly give a crap what he thinks?"

Strangely enough, very many people do, including me.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is a patriot and excellent engineer who has contributed much to the world of firearms design. His engineering skill contributed to the complete reshaping the world in the 20th century and beyond.
No single firearm is as easily recognized as his original AK-47 design, and few approach it's elegant simplicity and ruggedness as a select-fire infantry weapon.

As he himself has stated many times, he designed the AK-47 to protect his motherland from aggression, a very honorable goal no matter what country one may hail from.

Today, the old politics are best discarded and forgotten, as all political squabbles must be. Socialist or not, I would be so honored to meet this man that I'm not sure I could see straight- he is literally one of my heroes.

Sadly, Oh Blankey, I can't say the same about you. :rolleyes:

Desertdog
June 11, 2006, 01:53 PM
IT WAS the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that motivated Mikhail Kalashnikov to design the assault rifle that bears his name.
For those who are ticked at Kalashnikov for whatever reason need to study the Nazi invasion of Russia to realize what the nation was facing when the AK-47 was developed. The Nazis had over run most of the nation. The Russians were almost doomed when the AK-47 and the winter weather turned things around.

Marnoot
June 11, 2006, 02:38 PM
The Russians were almost doomed when the AK-47 and the winter weather turned things around.While I agree with your point about conditions when the AK-47 started being developed, the AK-47 had absolutely nothing to do with turning around the war as it wasn't even finished until 2 years after the war was over.

beerslurpy
June 11, 2006, 03:21 PM
The AK played no part in WWII at all. To be honest it didnt even play a role in Korea or the early parts of Vietnam. It was invented after WWII and only pressed into real significant production during the 50s. Before that the PPSH was the commie weapon du jour. I think the AK only made real worldwide strides during the 70s and 80s.

I personally dont think too much of the AK in terms of a design accomplishment. It was basically a combination of a bunch of preexisting weapons, with extra reliability and cheapness worked into the design. The end result was a good weapon that anyone could afford, which really is the genius of it IMO. Though honestly something like the Sten would have filled the same role just as effectively for even less cost if the AK hadnt been invented.

Art Eatman
June 11, 2006, 03:32 PM
Why would anybody blame Kalshnikov? Why blame Browning? Why blame FoMoCo or GM is one of their cars is used for a getaway vehicle after a bank robbery?

Blaming the inventor of anything for the way it's used or misused is dumber'n dirt...

Art

taz-2005
June 11, 2006, 04:01 PM
I thought the design for the AK came from the German Sturmgewehr 44 which was captured by the Red Army and taken back to to Russia were MK modifed the design.

Dr.Rob
June 11, 2006, 04:10 PM
The Ak has a lot more effective range than a STEN, and a lot more power.

Russian engineering is a thing to behold... it's razor sharp where it needs to be, crude as a rock where it doesn't. It's some of teh purest form follows function engineering ever.

The STG 44 & The AK look similar but internally they are very different.

The 7.92mm Kurz round looks an awful lot like the 7.62x39 though.

Kalashnikov designed several weapons before the AK to fire 7.62 Tok.

default
June 11, 2006, 11:34 PM
True enough about the different internals of the AK and Sturmgewehr 44. The resemblance is really only in concept and physical appearance. However, Hugo Schmeisser, the primary designer of the StG44, was relocated after capture to Izhevsk to work for the Red Army on firearms design. I've sometimes wondered if he had any input to the design of the AK. There appears to be very little hard information about his time in the USSR, but whether that is just general Soviet secretiveness or an attempt to obscure his contributions to Soviet small arms design, whether great or small, I don't know.

As for the reliability of the AK, I believe that can be traced to its bolt overtravel, oversized gas system, and loose clearances (not tolerances) in the various internal mechanisms, all deliberately designed into the AK, by someone who knew that the quality of materials and manufacturing would not be the highest, the training of the users not the best, and conditions under which it was fielded (both environmental and logistic) not the most favorable. A pretty well-engineered firearm, I'd say.

el44vaquero
June 12, 2006, 12:08 AM
I saw a program on the history channel about him and his rifle. Really a good program.

gezzer
June 12, 2006, 01:07 AM
My job as a dealer is to arm the other 9 people.:neener:

God made man, Kalashnikov made them equal!!!!

Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D

offthepaper
June 12, 2006, 02:04 AM
Quote from Koobah:
"As he himself has stated many times, he designed the AK-47 to protect his motherland from aggression, a very honorable goal no matter what country one may hail from"
-------------
Gotta agree with that.
When you get right down to it, the same critisism could be made for the US developing atomic weapons during WWII, along with a host of other US developed refinments of military materials.
I certainly don't think critical of those inventors/ developers of materials or technology that has found it's way into some wacko's hands half a century later.
In MK's instance it was a design born from the need to protect the Homeland. An act of patriotism by a countryman seeing a need. An act of character to see it through. The same charges could easily be made against Stoner or Browning, or hell maybe Sam Colt too.
Whether you agree with the politics or not, the fact is that the AK design did make the country of it's origin more secure by upgrading it's small arms within it's army.

Hawkmoon
June 12, 2006, 02:14 AM
The AK played no part in WWII at all. To be honest it didnt even play a role in Korea or the early parts of Vietnam. It was invented after WWII and only pressed into real significant production during the 50s. Before that the PPSH was the commie weapon du jour. I think the AK only made real worldwide strides during the 70s and 80s.
What do you consider the "early" parts of Vietnam? I was there in 1968, and the NVA and VC had boatloads of AK-47s by then. I have always thought of '68 as being toward the early part -- at least the early part when we had large numbers of troops there, as opposed to the very early 60's when we just had a few advisors placed with ARVN units

Carl N. Brown
June 12, 2006, 02:08 PM
My impression is that the AK47 did not go into wide distributiion until 1952 when the PPSh41 started to be phased out.

I designed AK-47s to defend USSR - it's not my fault terrorists use them.

John T. Thompson said basically the same thing about designing the Tommy Gun for the side of law and order, only to see it identified with bootleggers.

I thought the design for the AK came from the German Sturmgewehr 44 ....

I saw an interview with Mikhail K where someone said that .... DUCK! MK exploded. The only thing in common between the StG44 and the AK47 is 1. Select fire and 2. Intermediate cartridge.
Roy Dunlap in Ordnance Went Up Front wrote that a friend had an StG44 that fell over and was rendered inoperable because the sheet metal bent. That would not happen to an AK.
AK and StG are similar idea, totally different execution, like a VW "Thing" and a Jeep (AK being the jeep).

Mongo the Mutterer
June 12, 2006, 02:22 PM
The AK 47 went into production in ..... 1947! (whoops, my bad... 1949)

The AK 74 went into production in .... Guess...

If you enjoyed reading about "I designed AK-47s to defend USSR - it's not my fault terrorists use them" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!