Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, wrote a letter to the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church before his death describing the guilt he felt as a Christian for those his invention killed.
According to today’s Izvestia, a Kremlin newspaper, Kalashnikov, who died December 23, 2013, wrote a heartfelt letter to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in April. The typed letter was on Kalashnikov's personal stationary and was signed by Mr. Kalashnikov own hand as "a slave of God, the designer Mikhail Kalashnikov''.
“If my rifle took lives, does it mean that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, aged 93, a peasant woman’s son, an Orthodox Christian in faith, is guilty of those people’s deaths, even if they were enemies?”
The letter also reflects on major events in Kalashnikov’s life and philosophical questions about being human. Kalashnikov, who was baptized as a child, lived most of his life as an atheist. At the age of 91 he turned to God.
“Good and evil coexist side by side, fighting and, worst of all, they resign themselves to each other in the hearts of people – that is what I have come to at the end of this earthly life. It’s similar to the kind of perpetual motion I wanted to invent in my younger years. Light and shadow, good and evil - two opposites of a whole cannot exist without each other? And is the Almighty and all arranged? And humanity languishes forever in a ratio? ", laments the designer.
Kalashnikov, whose funeral was attended by President Vladimir Putin, came up with the rifle design after experiencing the Red Army's severe lack of weapons during World War II.
Today the AK-47 is manufactured unlicensed worldwide and has become the standard of armed movements.