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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

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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