Inventor of AK-47 out of hospital after health scare


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 - Page 6

Russia’s legendary rifle designer Mikhail Kalashnikov checked out of hospital on Saturday after spending nearly a week in an intensive care unit with swelling and general fatigue.

The 93-year-old father of the AK-47 had been under the care of doctors in the central Russian city of Izhevsk — home to the czarist-era plant that makes Russia’s most famous weapon.

“He checked out today at 1pm,” Interfax quoted the center’s chief doctor Sergei Ryashchikov as saying. “I just spoke to him — he is quite sprightly. His eyes are shining bright.”

Ryashchikov said Kalashnikov underwent a scheduled checkup, but his aide had earlier said that he had been suffering from what appeared to be the side effects of a lingering heart condition.

Kalashnikov designed his famous rifles — staples of armies across the world for the past half century — at Izhevsk’s Izmash factory and lives in the region to this day.

The 205-year-old plant remains one of the main producers of Russian weapons and is treasured as a national icon.

However, Izmash has also suffered from dwindling demand and a failure to make up for this with foreign orders — a problem plaguing many specialised post-Soviet industries.

Popular legend states that Kalashnikov began designing weapons after having trouble with the rifles the Soviet Red Army was using during World War II.

He is the 17th child of a family that lived in a tiny village high in the Altai Mountains near Russia’s remote border with Mongolia.