Kalashnikov felt guilt for AK-47 victims

Inventor of assault rifle told Orthodox church leader of his spiritual pain and remorse as he faced his own mortality.

    Kalashnikov felt guilt for AK-47 victims
    Kalashnikov's AK-47 rifle has become a hallmark of armed movements around the world [AP]

    Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, lived his final months filled with remorse over the people his gun killed, a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church reveals.

    Kalashnikov, who died in December aged 94, wrote a lengthy and emotional letter in April to the church's Patriarch, Kirill, according to a report in the a pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia on Monday.

    If my rifle took away people's lives, then can it be that I... am guilty for people's deaths?

    Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle

    "The pain in my soul is unbearable. I keep asking myself the same unsolvable question: If my assault rifle took people's lives, it means that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, ... son of a farmer and Orthodox Christian am responsible for people's deaths," he said in the letter.

    The typed letter on Kalashnikov's personal writing paper, reproduced by Izvestia, is signed with a wavering hand by the man who describes himself as "a slave of God, the designer Mikhail Kalashnikov."

    Hallmark of armed groups

    Kalashnikov had previously said he "slept well" when thinking about his gun's widespread use. On the 60th anniversary of its invention in 2007, he said: "It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence."

    In 2002, he said: "I'm proud of my invention, but I'm sad that it is used by terrorists."

    Kalashnikov, whose funeral was attended by President Vladimir Putin, came up with the durable and simple rifle design after experiencing the Red Army's lack of weapons during World War II.

    The AK-47 is now manufactured unlicensed around the world and has become a visual hallmark of armed movements, including those using child soldiers.

    The patriarch's press secretary, Alexander Volkov, told Izvestia that the church leader received the letter and wrote a personal reply.

    "The church has a very definite position: when weapons serve to protect the fatherland, the church supports both its creators and the soldiers who use it," Volkov said. "He designed this rifle to defend his country, not so terrorists could use it in Saudi Arabia."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.