Dec. 27 - Russia buries Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle that has killed more people than any other weapon in the world. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the simple but sturdy Russian assault rifle that has killed more people than any other weapon in the world, was buried with military honors on Friday at a cemetery in the Moscow region. He died on December 23 at the age of 93. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other state officials attended the funeral. A son of Siberian peasants who never finished school, Kalashnikov invented one of the Soviet Union's best-known and most imitated products - a gun from which shots have been heard around the world for over half a century. Kalashnikov was in his 20s and not long out of World War Two when he created the AK-47, whose number stands for the year 1947. The 'A' is for 'avtomat' - sub-machine gun - and the 'K' for Kalashnikov. The rifle, which rarely jams even in adverse conditions, went into service in the Soviet armed forces in 1949. Today, Kalashnikov rifles are still a mainstay of Russia's armed forces and police. Russia now produces Kalashnikovs of the so-called "100s series" with the AK-47's original 7.62 mm caliber, with the 5.45 mm caliber adopted for the AK-74 and even for NATO's 5.56 mm cartridge. But Kalashnikov said pride in his iconic invention was mixed with the pain of seeing it used by criminals and child soldiers. The cheap and simple rifle was embraced by anti-Western revolutionary movements and leftist leaders around the world, as well as gangsters, drug traffickers and militants and rebels of all stripes. Thirty years later, invading U.S. troops found a gold-plated Kalashnikov reportedly given to Saddam Hussein's son Uday at one of the Iraqi leader's palaces in Baghdad. U.S. arch-foe Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader, poses with a Kalashnikov in his videotaped diatribes against the West.