Dying Kalashnikov Wrote of His Guilt
Russian daily: He wrote of 'unbearable ... spiritual pain'
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 1:04 PM CST
Updated Jan 18, 2014 7:34 AM CST
Honor guard officers carry a coffin bearing the body of Mikhail Kalashnikov during his funeral at the Russian Federal memorial military cemetery just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(Newser) – In our own obituary of AK-47 inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov last month, we included this quote: The rifle was invented "for the protection of the Motherland," he said. "I have no regrets and bear no responsibility for how politicians have used it." It turns out "no regrets" might not have exactly been true. The AFP picks up a report from Russia's Izvestia that Kalashnikov penned a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church nine months before his December death in which he wrote of "unbearable ... spiritual pain" and asked about his culpability.

It contains this line: "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?" AFP notes that Izvestia ran a copy of the letter, which is typed on Kalashnikov's personal stationery and signed "with a wavering hand." A rep for Patriarch Kirill confirms that the letter was sent, and says the church leader wrote a reply—one that very may well have calmed his fears. Says the rep, "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." But the BBC notes that it's not clear whether every word came from Kalashnikov: Izvestia reports that his daughter believes a priest helped him write the letter.

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Tommy Barrios
Sep 6, 2014 4:15 PM CDT
The headline sounds like Mikhail had a guilty conscience when in fact it goes on to say the letter written to his church sounds like it was dictated by his priest confessor, a notorious tactic of the the church on all elderly people looking for final salvation! The other posters here talking out their butts about a subject only a few here seem to have REAL knowledge about! The AK-47 platform is a masterpiece of German and Russian ingenuity and survived the test of time as the most manufactured, copied, and reproduced, field rifle ever made! I regret selling my Chinese 56 variation ;-(
Jan 18, 2014 12:34 PM CST
He certainly wasn't obligated to feel guilty, but it's nice that he did!
Jan 18, 2014 10:59 AM CST
Sad he couldn't used a fortune to continue uninterrupted, round-the-clock construction on a mansion for 36 consecutive years. Like the Winchester wife. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Winchester