Mikhail Kalashnikov Hospitalized.
Mikhail Timofeyovich Kalashnikov, the man credited by the Soviet Union with designing the AK-47 and many of its descendant arms (including the AKM, PK, AK-74 lines) is in intensive care, complaining of general weakness. Mr. Kalashnikov has proven over the decades to be almost as durable as the weapons that bear his name. Trotted out for years as an attraction and reliable source of nostalgia by Vladimir V. Putin’s arms-export agency, he has been scarcely seen in public this year. This is not surprising, considering that he is 93 years old, and had kept a busy schedule since the Great Patriotic War.
Mr. Kalashnikov’s fatigue will lead to no small amount of reflection about his roles and his legacy, as it should. We will revisit some of the related themes soon. But first we have more to file from Syria, where his namesakes are, as ever in the wars of our time, in uncountable abundance. And his influences have resurfaced of late in other ways, as the AR-15, a weapon created and mass-produced as the United States’ answer to the AK line, has spurred a fresh discussion about military firearms, and our lives, following the school massacre in Newtown.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH
Mr. Kalashnikov, at a Kremlin appearance in 2005, just before sitting for another interview for THE GUN. By Nikolai Khalip. On this day he appeared with his diamond-and-gold Avtomat Kalashnikova tie clip, an incongruous little memento that he often wore when not in his ceremonial uniform, which was bedecked with medals from the Soviet and Russian states.