The inventor of the AK-47 said in the months before his death that he wrestled with guilt over the killing machine his creation had become and confessed he felt partially responsible for the lives lost.
Mikhail Kalashnikov, who died on Dec. 23 at the age of 94, for years denied feeling guilty about the estimated 100 million of his AK-47s that were spread around the world, many winding in the hands of terrorists. In 2007, he told reporters that he slept well at night and that “it’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,” The Associated Press reported.
But in a letter written just six months before his death to the Russian Orthodox Church’s top leader, Kirill I, Mr. Kalashnikov suggested an internal turmoil about his invention.
“The pain in my soul is unbearable,” he wrote in the letter, which was published in the Russian Izvesita on Monday. “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 this question drills itself into my brain and the more I wonder why the Lord allowed man to have the devilish desires of envy, greed and aggression,” he wrote in the letter, which is signed, “A slave of God, the designer Mikhail Kalashnikov.”
A spokesman for the Church said Kirill I, who leads a congregation of 150 million, “received Kalashnikov’s letter and wrote an answer.” The reply was not released, but it was reportedly “very appropriate.”
“He invented this gun to defend his country, not for the Saudi Arabian terrorists,” the spokesman told Izvesita, according to Fox News.