Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Inventor of the Ak-47 asked one final question before he died...

It's a tough and emotional end for the inventor of the AK-47, the iconic assault rifle that is widely regarded as one of the best - and deadliest in the world. It has come to light that months before his death, Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the Soviet-era assault rifle that bears his name, wrote a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church expressing regrets for his work.

Kalashnikov with his iconic rifle.

Kalashnikov with his iconic rifle.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Kalashnikov, AK-47, rifle, responsible, death, died


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, expressed deep regrets for inventing the world's most famous rifle and worried if the lives destroyed by his weapon would be upon his soul.

The AK-47 is an amazing weapon, invented by a young man who had a knack for invention.

Mikhail Kalashnikov was born in 1919 to a farming family in rural Russia. His family was viewed unfavorably by the Soviet establishment and deported to Siberia where the young Kalashnikov was forced to hunt with his father's rifle to feed the family.

In addition to hunting, Kalashnikov was a tinkerer, always working with farm machinery.

In 1938, he was conscripted into the Red Army and gained recognition for tinkering with tanks and attempting to design an improved rifle. Although his initial design idea for a rifle was rejected, he was lauded for his efforts.

In 1941, following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, he was wounded in combat and sent to a hospital for recovery. During his time in the hospital, he began work on what would later become the AK-47. Kalashnikov envisioned a functional weapon that would work in a variety of conditions.

After his recovery, Kalashnikov was assigned to a scientific bureau in charge of developing weapons. In 1947, he produced his first AK-47 with the number representing the year of its design. In 1949, the rifle was adopted into Soviet service.

From there, the rest is history.

The rifle, like many other Soviet weapons, was exported and produced under license elsewhere. It was cheap and reliable. It was highly resistant to jamming and easy to maintain. In Vietnam, anecdotes emerged that American soldiers would scavenge the bodies of dead North Vietnamese soldiers for their AK-47s, which they would use in place of their American-issue rifles. Although the American rifles were more accurate, the reliability of the AK-47 was more highly valued in the mucky tropical conditions.

The AK-47 became an icon of revolution, a deliberate depiction pushed by Soviet ideologues and leaders who believed the revolution should be exported around the globe. The rifle was a practical symbol, cheap, ubiquitous, and reliable. The national flag of Mozambique has even adopted the AK-47 on its flag.

With its distinctive double barrel design and banana clip, an AK-47 and its many variants and derivatives are distinct among period rifles.

Mikhail Kalashnikov himself personally negotiated many contracts for weapons exports and licensing.

This is where the story takes a turn from one of engineering and political success to one of moral calamity because Kalashnikov remained personally involved in the weapon, it's subsequent development and export.

The AK-47 may possibly be one of the world's deadliest rifles ever with an astounding body count that still rises by the day.

With the lives of millions on his mind, the aging Kalashnikov wrote a letter last April to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, asking if the lives of those millions were upon his soul.

Until recently, Kalashnikov defended his work by deflecting any sense of responsibility. The AK-47 is a tool, and he could not be held responsible for how people used it. Yet, in his final months of life he began to have concerns.

"The pain in my soul is unbearable," he wrote. "I keep asking myself the same unsolvable question: If my assault rifle took people's lives, it means that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, ... son of a farmer and Orthodox Christian am responsible for people's deaths."

"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. Everything changes, only a man and his thinking remain unchanged: he's just as greedy, evil, heartless and restless as before!"

The church replied with virtually the same response. Alexander Volkov, the spokesman for the Russian Patriarch replied, "If the weapon is used to defend the Motherland, the Church supports both its creators and the servicemen using it."

Yet this may not have comforted the dying Kalashnikov, who began visiting Church at the age of 91 in his working hometown of Izhevsk.

Kalashnikov's experience shows that we can rationalize all we like, but at some level, in a moral person, there is a sense of responsibility for what one does. Even if one's actions do not result in the direct death of another, even a distant connection can bring about profound feelings of guilt.

Kalashnikov killed no people himself, but his design remains eminently deadly to this day.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

What really caused Apostle Paul's blindness? Scientists believe they've figured it out Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A comparison among modern celestial events may help find what caused Apostle Paul to lose his eyesight for three days. His temporary blindness is an important historical event for the Christians as it led to where religion and the world is today, making it a ... continue reading


Conference sets out to bring the Gospel to the streets

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing conference striving to bring the Gospel to the streets will be held in San Clemente, CA on May 2. Speakers will focus on inspiring followers of Christ to apply the Gospel to today's social issues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those attending will ... continue reading


'Peace be with You'

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"On the evening of that first day of the week," according to the Gospel of John, "when the doors were locked, where the disciples were... Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' " To his closest followers, who feared that they too ... continue reading


Slaughter of Ethiopian Christians is 'a testimony which cries out to be heard,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Depicted in a 29-minute video, entitled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In speaking of the wholesale slaughter of at least 30 Ethiopian Christians by the Islamist State in Libya, Pope Francis declared that the blood of Christians "is a testimony which cries out to be heard by everyone who can still distinguish between good and ... continue reading


Catholic pastor warns parishioners faith is not enough for safety, encourages gun possession Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Issuing a pro-gun letter to the members of the church, Reverend Edward Fride encourages having guns and attending a concealed pistol license (CPL) classes. Through the letter, the pastor from the Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, warned there may ... continue reading


Apostle of California, Father Junipero Serra, to be canonized by Pope during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Professor Guzman Carriquiry, Secretary in charge of the Vice-Presidency of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America recently expressed his displeasure at the news of the California Senate's wish to replace the statue of Brother Junipero with that of a NASA astronaut.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is scheduled to personally preside over the canonization ceremony of Father Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C. on September 23 during his U.S. visit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ceremony will take place in the open space in front of the ... continue reading


'Faith must not be turned into power,' Pope Francis warns Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, at mass in St. Martha's House, recalled that many people follow Jesus simply out of self-interest. This "spirit, which lies behind or beneath a varnish of Christianity leads people to live like pagans," he warned. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Oops! The Bible did not say that: 7 famous viral quotes people think came from the Bible Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Social media and the Internet has made it easier to share anything anywhere. Most of the time we spend in cyberspace, we see come across wonderful statements --- about life, love and other concerns. It assures us that we are not alone, we are going to beat every ... continue reading


The Experience of the Resurrected Christ: A Divine Dream Worth Dying For

Image of

By Deacon Frederick Bartels

The dream of God is a dream of unending, divine love. His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, sacrificed his human life for this Dream: the redemption of humankind and the gift of eternal life and perfect happiness. Heaven is the divine dream that is not but a dream, it ... continue reading


Pope Francis 'considering' visit to Cuba Watch

Image of A nun waves a Vatican flag while attending Mass with St John Paul II in Havana in 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is said to be considering a trip to Cuba this coming September. The papal visit would tie into his visit to the United States. The gesture could lead to improving relations both between Cuba and the U.S. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 4:8-12
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 21, 29
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:11-18
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 3:1-2
1 You must see what great love the Father has ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 26th, 2015 Image

St. Cletus
April 26: St. Cletus was the third bishop of Rome, and succeeded St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter