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Letter Reveals Mikhail Kalashnikovs AK-47 Remorse

Published: January 15, 2014 (Issue # 1793)



  • Kalashnikovs guilt expressed in the letter strongly contrasts with his past statements saying he slept well at night.
    Photo: Michel Euler / AP

MOSCOW (AP) In a regretful letter penned a few months before his death, Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, asked the head of the Russian Orthodox Church if he was to blame for the deaths of those killed by his weapon.

The Russian daily Izvestia published the letter on Monday, in which Kalashnikov, who died last month at 94, told Patriarch Kirill that he kept asking himself if he was responsible. The AK-47 is the worlds most popular firearm, with an estimated 100 million spread around the world.

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

Kalashnikov also shared his bitter thoughts about humankind.

The longer I live, the more often that question gets into my brain, the deeper I go in my thoughts and guesses about why the Almighty allowed humans to have devilish desires of envy, greed and aggression, Kalashnikov continued. Everything changes, only a man and his thinking remain unchanged: hes just as greedy, evil, heartless and restless as before!

Kalashnikovs daughter, Elena, was quoted by Izvestia as saying that a local priest could have helped her father write the two-page letter, which was typed and carried his signature. The rifles simplicity and reliability made it a weapon of choice for the Third World insurgents backed by the Soviet Union. Moscow not only distributed the AK-47 widely but also licensed its production in some 30 other countries. The guns cult status among revolutionaries and national-liberation fighters is enshrined on the flag of Mozambique.

The letter, which was sent in April, contrasted sharply with past statements by Kalashnikov, who had repeatedly said in interviews and public speeches that he created the weapon to protect his country and couldnt be blamed for other peoples action.

I sleep well. Its the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence, the designer told The Associated Press in 2007. The church sought to comfort him with exactly same argument. Izvestia quoted Kirills spokesman Alexander Volkov as saying the Patriarch responded to Kalashnikov and praised him as a true patriot.

If the weapon is used to defend the Motherland, the Church supports both its creators and the servicemen using it, the newspaper quoted Volkov as saying.

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Wednesday, July 23


SPIBAs Legislation & Lobbying Committee invites everyone interested in the practical aspects of courts and procedural law to todays Legal Debating Club at 9:30 a.m. at the Mertens House, 21 Nevsky Prospekt, office 506. Visit spiba.ru for more details.


Take advantage of the sunny summer days and participate in Beach Games 2014, which runs through July 27 in Sestroretsks Dubki Park.



Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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