Red faces as Russian monument to creator of Kalashnikov depicts German rifle

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Red faces as Russian monument to creator of Kalashnikov depicts German rifle

The monument in the heart of Moscow was supposed to be a tribute to Mikhail Kalashnikov, the creator of the AK-47 assault rifle.

Unfortunately, things went wrong, spectacularly so. The etching on the plinth was not of a Kalashnikov but the StG 44 rifle used by the Nazis during WWII.

The mistake was spotted by arms experts, the BBC reported. It left the authorities having to use an angle grinder to remove the offending image. 

"A mistake has been made by the sculptor," executive director of the Russian Military Historical Society Vladislav Kononov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

The AK-47 was, in fact, the Soviet answer to the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44), which the German forces used from 1944.

Determined to find an equally effective weapon, the Soviet Union launched a competition, which was won by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

Having been wounded at the Battle of Bryansk, Kalashnikov began designing weapons.

The AK-47 has been in use since the late 1940s.

Kalashnikov, who died in 2013, aged 94 made little money out of his invention. Rather ruefully he said he wished he had designed a lawnmower.

Although the AK-47 remains the most popular assault rifle in the world, last year the Kalashnikov company said it was branching out into menswear.

"Kalashnikov is a global brand," said Kalashnikov's marketing director, Vladimir Dmitriyev, "and we rightly believe that clothing and souvenir products with our symbol will be in demand among buyers."

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