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Mikhail Kalashnikov, AK-47 designer, wrote penitent letter before he died

MOSCOW (AP) -- Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, reportedly wrote a regretful letter several months before his death asking the head of the Russian Orthodox Church if he was to blame for the deaths of those killed by the guns.

The Russian daily Izvestia reported Monday that Kalashnikov, who died last month at 94, wrote to Patriarch Kirill in April and told him he kept asking himself if he's responsible.

"The pain in my soul is unbearable. I keep asking myself the same unsolvable question: If my assault rifle took people's lives that means that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, ... am responsible for people's deaths," he said in the letter.

"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.

Kalashnikov's daughter, Elena, was quoted by Izvestia as saying that a local priest could have helped her father write the letter, which was typed and carried his signature.

The letter 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 couldn't be blamed for other people's action.

"I sleep well. It's 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 Kirill's 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.

The AK-47 is the world's most popular firearm, favored by guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies. An estimated 100 million are spread around the world.

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Ike January 14 2014 at 4:11 AM

How great the world would be if the politicians who caused these wars asked themselves the same questions... while they are in office!

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I wanna Rock!!!! January 14 2014 at 3:33 AM


You have nothing to repent for. You were a patriot who wished to protect your country. And those guns were used by soldiers who possessed their own free wills. Some blame can go to the officers for their orders, but it wasn't you who killed with the rifle. Every gun is a tool, and tools can be used for good or ill. The consequence of action rests with the user, not the inventer.

Requiescat in Pace.

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vitalogy25 January 13 2014 at 3:57 PM

Guns don't kill people, people kill people. You have nothing to be sorry for. If it wasn't a gun it's a knife. People that kill innocents are disturbed and crazy

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1 reply
peach2man vitalogy25 January 13 2014 at 4:03 PM

What now they are making rapid high speed knives , I will tell you I will go against you at a thousand feet you with the ak47 you can have the knife you cannot compare the two.

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stang130 January 13 2014 at 3:59 PM

I do know he met Stoner the inventor of the M16 and said that Mr Stoner is a millionaire and he was poor.

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loki3640 January 13 2014 at 9:30 PM

if he hadnt ivented such a weapon, someone else would have, however , he was cheated out of alot of money.

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duey35 January 13 2014 at 4:00 PM

I think that the church and God would forgive him as he did the best he could and thats what I bielieve the creator intended for us all ,,,to do our best.

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cronos1971 January 13 2014 at 6:31 PM

Hmmm, I thought he might have finally admitted that he stole/copy-catted the AK's design and action from the German's Sturmgewehr 44? Bummer. Don't get me wrong, I love my AK, but their designs are eerily similar. Plus the Sturmgewehr was produced 3 year's earlier. Most of us also know that all the weapon secrets that the Nazi's were working on or had got pilfered by both the Russians and Americans.

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1 reply
wolfkopf123 cronos1971 January 13 2014 at 7:04 PM

Cronosv1971 got it right. The Sturmgewehr 43. developed in 1943 is the predecessor of the russian AK 47 The Sturmgerwehr 43 -. It clip holds 30 rounds, This weapon proved to be very popular but . the saying went " to late" . An- other war trophy has been the Stealth Bomber described not t long ago in the National Geographic .

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angelo January 14 2014 at 3:26 AM

I wonder if Eugene Stoner (father of the M-16) had similar thoughts before he died.

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1 reply
marmdelao angelo January 14 2014 at 3:30 AM

dont think so,that gun was useless

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ollieohmy January 13 2014 at 6:28 PM

I own a ak47 as well as a few other guns.Its not that the ak47 is such an evil gun its the fact it is made to shot when it is in a battle were it takes a tough gun to keep on shooting when all others fail.All so its cheap and the ammo is cheap.It want kill you any more than a 30-30,.370,30.06,and so on.I don't hunt any thing any more,just got old and hunting don't seem to fit my needs any more.If I did I would use the ak47 if it was what I wanted to shoot with,but it could be the ole 12 ga. shot gun if it was what I picked up.So you see we get this ideal of some thing that some times is just the way we see it not what it really is.

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1 reply
Chris ollieohmy January 13 2014 at 7:44 PM

Thanks for your honest thought, would you like to expand your collection of firearms? If so so drop me a line, and I will do what I can for you, long live the 2nd amendment!

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howard January 13 2014 at 3:57 PM

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.

amen.. we might add if the weapon defends the civilian/ it's OK too.

imagine that - they forget the individual right to self
defense over there in the 'motherland'...

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