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Kalashnikov Repented Over AK-47 Deaths to Patriarch

Published: January 14, 2014 (Issue # 1792)


Mikhail Kalashnikov, the late designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, said in a letter to Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill that he felt sorry for the fact that millions of people had been killed by the weapon he created, a news report said Monday.

"My spiritual pain is unbearable," Kalashnikov wrote, Izvestia reported, citing a copy of the letter. "There's one insoluble issue: since my rifle killed people, am I...an Orthodox Christian, responsible for the deaths of people, even if they are enemies?"

The AK-47, designed in 1947, has become the world's most popular assault rifle and is used by governments, rebels, terrorists and civilians. According to the World Bank, out of the 500 million total firearms available worldwide, 100 million come from the Kalashnikov family, and 75 million are AK-47s.

Another issue that Kalashnikov said deeply troubled him was the Soviet Union's military fiasco in the war with Nazi Germany in 1941, when he was a tank commander.

"My spiritual wound of 1941 haunts me day and night," he said. "Why, living in such a great power with a massive defense industry and a strong gun design school, couldn't I and my fellow soldiers defend ourselves?"

Commenting on the Cold War, Kalashnikov, who died in December, said that he had considered Americans to be "friends" despite tense relations between the two countries.

Some commentators questioned the authenticity of the letter, drawing parallels with a message allegedly written by exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky to President Vladimir Putin before his death last March, which some believe to be a fake.

But Kirill's spokesman Alexander Volkov confirmed that Patriarch Kirill received the letter, in which the gun designer praised him, and wrote a reply, thanking Kalashnikov for his "patriotism." He added that the letter was "very relevant amid attacks against the Church."

The Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill have come under fire in recent years for alleged corruption and close ties with the Kremlin.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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