It’s a blunder so bad it makes you look twice: On the new sculpture dedicated to Russia’s most famous small arms designer, there is an unintentional homage to a weapon of Russia’s hated adversaries during the Great Patriotic War. Behind the tasteful statue unveiled last Tuesday of Mikhail “Mikhtim” Kalashnikov cradling his invention like a fine instrument, there lies a sculpture panel dedicated to his inventions themselves – and, by accident, the Nazi Sturmgewehr of World War II. While the majority of the panel is filled with models of Kalashnikov’s inventions and derivatives, nestled in the backdrop of the representation of the AKS-74U compact assault rifle is a slab depicting an exploded view of the MKb42(H),, a World War II German assault rifle which helped serve as the inspiration for the program Kalashnikov’s rifle was designed to satisfy.
The exploded view of the WWII-era German assault rifle can be clearly seen inside the red circle, on the plate behind the relief depicting the AKS-74U Kalashnikov variant:
The error is almost too good to be true, given the abundance of internet conspiracy theories regarding the relationship between the AK-47 and the Sturmgewehr weapon family (theories that I have spent a considerable amount of time debunking). When I first saw the error, I assumed it had to be photoshop, but, alas, it appears on every photo of the monument available, and is therefore very likely all too real.
There will probably be some who will read into the mistake as the final proof of what they feel they’ve known all along: A secret hint by the sculptor regarding the “true” origin of the Kalashnikov rifle. In reality, it’s more likely that the sculptors simply searched the internet for AK-47 schematics, and got the same result that I did:
I don’t claim to be an expert on sculpture, but my guess would be that the error is simple enough to fix. The sturmgewehr’s schematic is on a flat bronze background, after all, and could probably be ground away and re-etched with something else. Whether the city will do this or not is anyone’s guess, though.
Kalashnikov Concern spokeswoman Sofia Ivanova commented on the monument, saying: “We are ready to provide all necessary support and technical consultation. The specialists at Kalashnikov Concern did not supervise the author’s creation of the sculptural composition and were not involved as consultants.”