Six months before his death last December, legendary gun designer and inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, wrote a letter of repentance to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill I.
In the letter, Izvestia reported, the designer shared with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church his emotional concerns and doubts about his responsibility for the deaths of people from the gun he had invented.
A file picture taken on July 6, 2007 shows famous Russian weapon designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, posing at age 87 with the first model of his legendary AK-47 assault rifle during a ceremony in Moscow. Pic: AFP
“My inner pain is unbearable, I have been facing one and the same unsolvable question: as my gun deprived people of lives, then I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, 93, a son of a peasant woman, a Christian and an Orthodox, am guilty of the deaths of people, be them even enemies,” the newspaper quoted the letter as stating.
Kalashnikov also presented his views on the future of the country and mankind.
“Correct, more churches and monasteries have appeared in our land, but the evil is not diminishing still!... Good and evil live on, they are neighbours, they are fighting, and, more scary, is that they jointly find peace in our souls - this is the conclusion I have approached in the end of my life on the earth,” he wrote.
“Light and shadow, kindness and evil - two opposites of one, which are not capable of existing without each other? Is it really the way god has made? And the mankind has to vegetate in that co-existence?”
The patriarch’s press secretary Alexander Volkov told Izvestia Kirill had received the letter and even replied to it.
“That letter was very timely during the attacks on the church. The patriarch thanked the legendary designer for the attention and position and replied saying that Kalashnikov was an example of patriotism and correct attitude towards the country,” Volkov said.
He added the church had a quite clear position concerning the designer’s responsibility for the deaths of people - whenever guns protect the fatherland, the church would support both the designers and the military using them.
The Izvestia newspaper claimed to have a copy of the letter, which was dated April 7 and was handwritten by Kalashnikov.