Dec. 23 - Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the simple but sturdy Russian assault rifle, dies at the age of 94. Nathan Frandino reports.
The AK-47, one of the world's most recognizable weapons, has lost its father. Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the simple but sturdy Russian assault rifle, died on Monday. Kalashnikov rose to fame not long after World War II when he created the AK-47. The 'A' stands for 'avtomat', or sub-machine gun, and the 'K' for Kalashnikov. The '47' stands for the year 1947. Russia continues to use Kalashnikovs to this day. Then again, so do anti-Western revolutionary movements, leftist leaders, gangsters and more. In 1973, Chilean President Salvador Allende died holding an AK-47. Some 30 years later, Osama bin Laden was frequently filmed posing with a Kalashnikov. In 2009, then-President Dmitry Medvedev honored Kalashnikov on his 90th birthday with the "Hero of Russia" gold star medal. Around the same time, Kalashnikov expressed pain seeing his weapon in the hands of so many criminal elements. He was 94.