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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
MOSCOW, RUSSIA (BosNewsLife)– New revelations show the late designer of the world’s most famous rifle feared he was guilty for the many deaths caused by his weapon. Mikhail Kalashnikov expressed his concerns shortly before he died in a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
His iconic AK-47 rifle, better known as Kalashnikov, has been the weapon of choice for guerrilla forces, terrorists and military groups in the Balkans and around the world.
They applaud its sturdy construction and performance in adverse conditions.
Yet the inventor of the weapon Mikhail Kalashnikov, who died last month at the age of 94, had his doubts. Six months before his death he wrote a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, saying he felt guilty.
In the letter, which was published in Russia’s daily Izvestia, he said his “spiritual pain is unbearable.”
“I keep having the same unsolved question”, he wrote, “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?”
The patriarch reportedly replied that whenever weapons are used to protect the Fatherland, the Orthodox Church supports both the creators of the weapons and the soldiers who use them.
Kalashnikov said he first went into a church at the age of 91 and was later baptized.
His daughter Elena was quoted as saying that a local priest could have helped her father write the two-page letter, which was typed and carried his signature.
He designed the famed assault rifle in 1947 at the age of 20. Kalashnikov – a son of Siberian peasants – never finished school. Kalashnikov said he came up with the idea for the rifle while recovering from wounds during the 1941 Battle of Bryansk against Nazi forces.
Now, some 100 million Kalashnikov rifles are spread around the world. But Kalashnikov never got rich because his invention was never patented in the Soviet Union.
Instead, Kalashnikov received numerous honors, including the Hero of Socialist Labor, the Order of Lenin and the Stalin Prize.