Red faces as Kalashnikov monument depicts Nazi weapon

A worker at Moscow's Kalashnikov monument after removing a fragment that had erroneously depicted a German World War II weapon.
A worker at Moscow's Kalashnikov monument after removing a fragment that had erroneously depicted a German World War II weapon.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW • Workers have cut out part of a new monument to the late Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the Soviet Union's AK-47 assault rifle, after eagle-eyed Russians noticed that it mistakenly depicted a German World War II weapon.

Just three days ago, the monument to the creator of one of Russia's best-known export brands was unveiled with much fanfare in Moscow. A metal bas-relief behind a statue of Mr Kalashnikov depicts the legendary AK-47 and other weapons all supposedly designed by the engineer, who died in 2013.

But on Friday, the embarrassed sculptor, Mr Salavat Shcherbakov, had to admit that among them was the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) assault rifle used by Nazi troops at the end of World War II.

"We will rectify this," Mr Shcherbakov said in comments broadcast by state-run Rossiya 24 channel. "It looks like this (mistake) sneaked in from the Internet."

By Friday evening, a square hole gaped where the German rifle had been depicted in the bas-relief.

Mr Kalashnikov's weapon, created in 1947, does have a striking resemblance to German arms designer Hugo Schmeissers' StG 44 rifle, created in 1942, although they have major design differences.

Mr Kalashnikov was known to have said he had heard rumours that he copied the German rifle.

The AK-47, a mainstay of Russia's armed forces for over 60 years, is called by some the most effective weapon made.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 24, 2017, with the headline 'Red faces as Kalashnikov monument depicts Nazi weapon'. Print Edition | Subscribe