Kalashnikov 'repented killings' in letter to Church

2014-01-13 21:22
Honour guards fire in the air with AK-47 assault rifles during Mikhail Kalashnikov's funeral in Moscow. (Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP)

Honour guards fire in the air with AK-47 assault rifles during Mikhail Kalashnikov's funeral in Moscow. (Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the legendary AK-47 assault rifle, turned to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in the months before his death to express remorse for those killed by his invention.

Kalashnikov, who died in December at the age of 94, in April wrote a lengthy emotional letter to Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, Izvestia, a pro-Kremlin daily, reported on Monday.

The Soviet-era legend and Russian national hero had visited an intensive care unit with heart problems only months earlier, and he was spending more and more time in hospital at the time he sent his letter to the Church.

"My spiritual pain is unbearable. I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle took away people's lives, then can it be that I... am guilty for people's deaths, even if they were enemies?" Kalashnikov asked.

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".

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

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

Kalashnikov wrote that he first went into a church at the age of 91 and was later baptised.

"The Lord showed me the way in the afternoon of my life," wrote the rifle inventor. "When at the age of 91 I cross the threshold of a church, my soul felt as if it had been there before."

The Patriarch's press secretary, Alexander Volkov, told Izvestia that the Russian 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."

The Russian Orthodox Church has sought to consolidate its new-found strength after the Soviet era by building up close ties with state agencies and powerful officials.

When Kalashnikov was feted by the Soviet authorities, it would have been unthinkable for him to have declared himself anything else than an atheist.

His daughter, Yelena, told Izvestia: "Of course you can't say he went to services or lived strictly according to the commandments. You have to understand his generation."

Kalashnikov designed his famous rifles at the Izmash factory in the central city of Izhevsk and lived in the struggling region until his last days despite offers to come to Moscow.

The 206-year-old plant remains one of the main producers of Russian weapons and is treasured as a national icon.

Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
14 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Newlands 15:54 PM
Road name: M3 Southbound

DELAYS approaching Rhodes Avenue

Macassar 15:52 PM
Road name: N2 Outbound

ACCIDENT in the left lane after the Engen One-Stop garage - DELAYS towards Somerset West

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.