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Late AK-47 Designer Reportedly Questioned Legacy

A boy holds his Kalashnikov rifle on the streets of the Iraqi city of Ramadi on January 6.
The legendary designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, who died last month at the age of 94, had worried about whether he was responsible for the deaths caused by the namesake gun he invented.

Russia's "Izvestia" newspaper reported on January 13 that Kalashnikov had written a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church eight months before his death to express fears he was personally responsible for those his invention had killed.

OBITUARY: Kalashnikov's Uncomfortable Legacy

There are an estimated 100 million AK-47s in circulation.
Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov in a 2013 photo
Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov in a 2013 photo

Aleksandr Volkov, a spokesman for Patriarch Kirill, told "Izvestia" the patriarch had replied to Kalashnikov by saying he was "a shining example for patriotism."

Volkov told "Izvestia" that the church approves of weapons that serve the defense of the fatherland.

Orthodox priests regularly bless new weapons and include soldiers in their prayers.

Based on reporting by "Izvestia" and dpa