Mikhail Kalashnikov was born 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. 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.
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.
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.
He is a beloved icon of the new gay cinema.