Throughout his life, AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov said the deaths caused by the criminal use of his rifle were the fault of the rifle’s misuse and the gun laws of various countries. But as he approached his death, remaining under continued assault by anti-gun news outlets and peace organizers, a letter a priest helped Kalashnikov compose suggests another perspective.
He writes, “My spiritual pain is unbearable.” The letter, translated by the BBC, adds, “If my rifle claimed people’s lives, then can it be that I… a Christian and an Orthodox believer, was to blame for their deaths?” It continues by suggesting that the more Kalashnikov thought about the question, the more he wondered why “the Lord allowed” him to have the drive and ability to build the AK-47.
Russia Newspaper Investia published more of the letter, which shows that Kalashnikov answered his own question by citing a desire to bring peace: “Yet [even with] an increasing number of churches and monasteries in our land… evil still does not decrease! Good and evil live side by side, fighting and, worst of all, resign themselves to each other in the hearts of the people. … It turns out some perpetual motion, so I wanted to invent in [my] younger years.”
But he says his invention did not dispel evil as he hoped it might. Rather, “light and shadow, good and evil,” continue to live one by another.
Cyril Alexander Volkov, the Russian patriarch’s press secretary, commented on Kalahnikov’s letter and his rifle: “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. [Kalashnikov] designed this rifle to defend his country, not so terrorists could use it in Saudi Arabia.”
Mikil Kalashnikov died at age 94 on December 23rd.
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