The legendary designer of the AK47 and AK74 rifles, as well as the PK and RPK machine guns, saw some love from the Motherland on Tuesday.
The nearly 25-foot high statue of Gen. Mikhail Kalashnikov by sculptor Salavat Shcherbakov was publicly dedicated close to Armory Square near the Kremlin at the intersection of Sadovaya-Karetnaya and Dolgorukovskaya streets. On hand was Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky who lauded the late firearms engineer from Siberia.
“He is the embodiment of the very best Russian attributes,” said Medinsky. “Extraordinary natural giftedness, simplicity, honor, organizational talent– all this enabled him to create a whole line of weapons for the defense of our country, of which the Kalashnikov automatic rifle is the true cultural brand of Russia.”
Dedicated on Russia’s National Day of the Gunsmith, established in 2010 on the Orthodox Church’s feast day of St. Mikhail– a traditional figure in Russian culture whose statue is next to Kalashnikov’s– a priest was on hand to bless the monument.
“I created a weapon for the defense of my fatherland,” a quote attributed to Kalashnikov, is installed on the $580,000 statue’s pedestal.
While a single protestor was reportedly taken into custody by officials, The Moskva News Agency found most in attendance liked the monument.
“What’s not to like? The size is good. And people should know their heroes,” said Sveta Agayan, 26.
In footage of the event from Ruptly, below, the only Kalashnikov visible at the ceremony (you can bet some Krinks were hidden among Medinsky’s security detail) was the massive replica in the inventor’s hand. Meanwhile, the honor guard of the Kremlin Regiment was armed with SKS-45 rifles designed by Sergei Simonov– which the AK47 replaced.