Quartz reports: As high-ranking officials and Russian Orthodox priests looked on, a 30-foot statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov was unveiled today (Sept.19), in central Moscow. The monument depicts Kalashnikov clutching his creation, the AK-47— the world’s most famous assault rifle—and sits on one of the busiest streets in the city. The unveiling featured much pomp and ritual—a priest sprinkled holy water on the statue, onlookers crossed themselves, and a former spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church took to social and wrote, “our weapon is a holy weapon.”
All of the piety would have likely made Kalashnikov’s skin crawl.
A year before he died at age 94 in 2013, the inventor wrote a tortured letter to the head of the church. As reported by Ivestia, the pro-Kremlin newspaper, Kalashnikov insisted his “spiritual pain is unbearable.” “I keep having the same unsolved question: 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?” To be clear, Kalashnikov did not always feel this way. In 2007, he said, “I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.” [Continue reading…]