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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Dec. 20


The citys Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during todays Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Add to your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya Ploshchad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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