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About Mikhail Kalashnikov.

Biography of M.Kalashnikov.


M.Kalashnikov.

    Mikhail Kalashnikov has gone down in the history of small arms as the creator of the world's best assault rifle and also as the designer who was the first in the world to develop and make operational an array of unified automatic small arms models, based on the identical automatic action, design and operating principle. Characteristically, back in the early 1920s, the famous Russian designer V. G. Fedorov, creator of the world's first assault rifle (1916), assisted by young Soviet designers, substantiated theoretically and developed unified experimental models of light automatic machine-guns, aircraft machine-guns, an antiaircraft machine-gun, tank machine-gun and heavy machine-gun based on his assault rifle design. V.G. Fedorov's idea of unifying the automatic small arms was partially implemented in practice by V.A.'Degtyarev, who developed two aircraft and one tank machine-gun, based on his DA light machine-gun and the machine-guns that entered service with the Russian Armed Forces. In the second half of the 20th century, Mikhail Kalashnikov, relying on the achievements of outstanding national designers and advanced technology, made the most use of Fedorov's idea. The unification had beneficial economic and production outcome and expedited the mastering of new types of small arms weapons in the field. Thus, in our country the unification concept was substantiated, experimental developments were made, the first combat models were produced and, finally, the extensive unification of combat automatic small arms was realized in practice.

    Mikhail Kalashnikov was born on November 10, 1919, in the village of Kurya, Altai Territory, to a peasant family. Mikhail was the seventeenth child of Timofel and Alexandra Kalashnikov. On finishing the 9th form of a secondary school, Kalashnikov went to work in the Matai depot as an apprentice and was subsequently a technical clerk in the employ of a Turkistan-Sibenan railway department.
    In 1938, Kalashnikov was called up for military service, served in the Kiev special military district and graduated from a school of tank drivers. During his service, Kalashnikov showed his worth in invention. He devised an inertia revolution counter to register the number of actual shots from a tank gun, made a special appliance for the TT pistol to enhance fire effectiveness through tank turret slits and designed a tank running time meter.
    In June I94I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, as an inventor, was sent by military district commander General of the Army G.K. Zhukov to Leningrad to implement his recent invention.     From the outset of the Great Patriotic War senior sergeant Mikhail Kalashnikov fought against fascist invaders as a tank commander. In October 1941 he was seriously wounded in the violent battle of Bryansk.
    While in hospital, Kalashnikov conceived the idea of a submachine gun. Later, while on a six-month sick leave, he came to the Matai depot and, assisted by the depot personnel, realized his invention is the depot shops. With the submachine gun he left for Alma-Ata. Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan Kaishingulov sent the inventor to the Ordzhonikidze Moscow Aviation Institute which had been evacuated to Alma-Ata. A second model of Kalashnikov's submachine gun was devised and made in the shops of the Institute aviation ordnance department. In June 1942 the model was sent for reference to the Dzerzhinsky Ordnance Academy located in Samarkand.
    A.A Blagonravov, an outstanding Soviet small arms specialist, displayed interest in senior sergeant Kalashnikov's submachine gun, Although the submachine gun was not recommended for service, the talent, efforts and original design approaches of the self-taught designer were highly appreciated. In 1942 Kalashnikov was assigned to the Central Research Small Arms Range of the Main Ordnance Directorate of the Red Army.
    In 1944 Mikhail Kalashnikov devised a prototype of the self-loading carbine; its main assemblies were used as a basis for an assault rifle made in 1946. In 1947, Kalashnikov's updated assault rifle displayed high reliability and fire effectiveness during arduous competitive tests and was found best. In 1949, after modifications, the assault rifle, designated "Kalashnikov 7.62mm assault rifle, make 1947 (AK)," became operational in the Soviet Army and Mikhail Kalashnikov received the Stalin Prize First Class.
    Since 1949 Mikhail Kalashnikov has been living and working in Izhevsk. He worked his way up from soldier to General Designer of small arms in the Soviet Army.
    Between 1950 and 1970, a series of unified small arms weapons developed by Kalashnikov-AKM, AKMS, AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74U, RPK, RPRS, RPK-74, RPKS-74, PK, PKS, PKM, PKSM, PKT, PKTM, PKB, PKMB-were adopted. The Soviet government highly appraised Kalashnikov's contribution to the defense might of the country; he was twice honored as Hero of Socialist Labor (1958 and 1976), won the Stalin Prize (1949) and granted Doctor's degree (1971) and promoted to the rank of Colonel (1969), awarded three Orders of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner of Labor, Order of the Patriotic War First Class, Order of the Red Star and many medals of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
    Since 1980 Mikhail Kalashnikov has been a citizen of honor in his native village of Kurya, where a bronze bust was set up, as he was twice awarded Hero of Socialist Labor. Since 1987 he has been an honorable citizen of Izhevsk. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the great designer, Russia's President Boris Yeltsin himself invested Mikhail Kalashnikov with the Order "For Distinguished Services for the Motherland" Second Class and promoted him to Major-General.
    The automatic weapons of the Kalashnikov system are widely used the world over. Since 1990, after the breakup of the USSR and Socialis Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Kalashnikov small arms have been extensively or partially operational in the armies, used by special-task forces or manufactured for export to the following countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Armenia, Angola, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Botswana, Hungary, Vietnam, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea - Bissau, Haiti, Gambia, Guyana, Honduras, Georgia, Djibouti, Egypt, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe, North Yemen, South Yemen, Israel, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Campuchia, Cape Verde, China, Qatar, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, North Korea, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Lebanon, Lybia, Lithuania, Mauritania, Madagascar, Macedonia, Mali, Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Mozambique, Moldova, Namibia, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Swaziland, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slavonia, Syria, Somali, Sudan, Surinam, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan. Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, the Philippines, Finland, Croatia, Czechia, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia. South Africa and Yugoslavia According to various sources, about 70 million Kalashnikov assault rifles of various modifications were manufactured by the middle of 1990, both in our country and abroad, including those made under license and piratically(for the invention made in the1940s Kalashnikov has still not held a patent).
    Kalashnikov small arms are extremely popular throughout the world Asserting that the AK assault rifle helped them gain sovereignty, some countries included its representation in their national emblems, while in others newborn boys are named "Kalash."
    What is behind the unprecedented popularity of the Kalashnikov assault rifle and its modifications, as manifested in a heraldic symbol?
    Mikhail Kalashnikov has obtained an optimum combination of a number of features of the weapon, ensuring its high firing effectiveness and reliability. These include the short locking assembly, balanced bolt, unseating of the cartridge case after shot, preventing failure during extraction of fired cases, insensitivity to contamination and trouble-free operation in any climatic conditions.
    The automatic weapons of the Kalashnikov system have been the focus of home and foreign historians concerned with arms. Many world military historical museums made a collection of his weapon models. They are primarily standard weapons adopted for service at different times in different countries. The most considerable collection of experimental and standard small arms, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov during 1942-1990, is kept in the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer Troops and Communications in St. Petersburg, the oldest military museum of Russia, until 1964 generally known as the Artillery Historical Museum.
    The collection was saved by the museum, thanks to the persistence of the Main Ordnance Directorate command. A considerable reduction of the Soviet Armed Forces in 1959 led to the abandonment of the Research Small Arms Range, where all innovatory models of small arms for armed forces had been tested from 1920. The collection of small arms devised by Soviet designers between 1920 and 1959 was contributed to the fund of the Artillery Historical Museum in Leningrad. Naturally, the museum collected all standard models of the Kalashnikov system, which became operational in the Soviet Army in the period of 1949-1980. The Museum also collected all Kalashnikov systems and modifications adopted and manufactured abroad. However, today things do not look so promising. Only 31 models out of a variety of previously and currently world-produced modifications of Kalashnikov automatic small arms have been collected.
    A second collection amassed at the Izhmash JSC in Izhevsk, where Mikhail Kalashnikov has headed a design bureau since 1949. The Izhevsk collection comprises mostly systems developed by Kalashnikov after 1960.

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