A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mikhail Kalashnikov has Died; His Creation Survives Him

Mikhail Kalashnikov has died at the age of 94 after a long career.

His most famous creation lives on, The Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947 (more commonly, the AK-47) and its variants, the AK-74, AKM, and the like, have sold in the hundreds of millions; variants and clones are produced in many countries (Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan among them) or copied (Israel's Galil is an unofficial derivative). It is by far the most  widely-used weapon in the world.

The rifle was inexpensive, easy-to-use, and became a symbol of  guerrilla and liberation movements around the world. One national flag, Mozambique's (right) carries an AK-47 on it, and a well-known flag from our own region, Hizbullah's, carries it as well:

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