Oops! Monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov Depicts Sturmgewehr 44 Rifle

As our regular readers can attest, we all make mistakes from time to time. Typos, mis-stated stats, loading the wrong photo. When that happens, we fix it and move on. Electrons are cheap and rectifying those kinds of problems is easy. Not so much, though, when your medium is metal.

So imagine artist Salavat Shcherbakov’s chagrin when it was pointed out to him that part of his recently unveiled tribute to AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov — a monument the New York Times, in their characteristically restrained way, called a “monument to murder” — included a rifle he hadn’t created. Instead, the clueless sculptor had included an image of a rifle the hated Nazis used had against the motherland in the Great Patriotic War.

Reuters has the story:

Workers on Friday cut out part of a new monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the Soviet Union’s legendary AK-47 assault rifle, after eagle-eyed Russians noticed that it mistakenly depicted a German weapon of World War Two.

Just three days ago, the monument to the creator of one of Russia’s best known export brands was unveiled with much fanfare in central Moscow.

A metal bas-relief behind a statue of Kalashnikov depicts the AK-47 and other weapons all supposedly designed by the engineer, who died in 2013.

And then someone noticed that one of the rifles attributed to Kalashnikov wasn’t Russian at all. It was an exploded view of a German Sturmgewehr 44, the original assault rifle.

“We will rectify this,” 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.

How do you say faux pas in Russian?



  1. avatar little horn says:

    thats an AK in the picture so not sure why i should believe this.

    1. avatar kevin says:

      That’s what I thought….I’m confused. Handle is at the wrong angle if it is a Sturmgewehr 44, it had a much sharper angle.

    2. avatar little horn says:

      here’s even a rough draft, AK in hand. i call BS on this.

      1. avatar G says:

        The STG was on the back of the statue where theres carvings of other rifles he invented. For some reason the STG was in there. Not sure why they didnt show a better picture.

        1. avatar Norincojay says:

          “It was an exploded view of a German Sturmgewehr 44, ” The bottom photo shows a STG44 taken apart etched in the metal just behind the short barreled AK74.

        2. avatar Joe R. says:

          Maybe it was a Russian tongue-in-cheek move. Like, “The gun was in an “exploded view” hehe, funny, no?”

          Just another example of how the Nazis and the evil (D) ruin everything.

        3. avatar Joe R. says:

          The Kalashnikov’s and the STG 44’s barrels nearly cross.

          There’s also a divider and triangle on the statue relief.

          H O L Y

          S H _ T

          B A T M A N

          Kalashnikov WAS A FREEMASON ! ! !

          Melt the whole friggin thing down.

          /sarc, as far as you know

  2. avatar Pecker54 says:

    Are you guys drunk? That’s clearly an AK in the photo.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Which was based on which Airsoft knife, Pecker?

  3. avatar Anner says:

    The rifle he’s holding is indeed an AK. The Stg44 mistake is a side panel of the base of the statue. It’s an exploded drawing, etched into the statue. It’s not real obvious unless you know what you’re looking for.


  4. avatar jsallison says:

    If an Stg44 was good enough for Wardaddy Collier, it’s bloody well good enough for Kalashnikov.

  5. avatar TP says:

    Not a mistake.

  6. avatar Paul53 says:

    Somebody will be moving to a gulag soon!

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      I can hear Shcherbakov now “I was once a famous sculptor like you, then I took a Sturmgewehr to my bronze”

  7. avatar Mike Oregon says:

    The Stermgewehr while innovative, was not the first “Assault rifle” it was the first called buy that name. The Russian Fedorov Avtomat holds the distinction of being the first select fire detachable magazine intermediate cartridge rife mass produced. (6.5 Arasaka is slightly less powerful than 7.62X39)

    1. avatar Norincojay says:

      Very cool. I’ve never even heard of that rifle before. They manufactured 3,200 of them. I agree with the 6.5 and the reason for its design it very well could be the first so called “assault rifle.”


      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        Have you heard of the Italian Cei Rigotti rifle?

    2. avatar Mercury says:

      The Lewis Assault Phase Rifle was actually the first weapon to use the words “assault rifle” in its name, but we’d call it a light machine gun today (full power, no select fire.)

      However, the first assault rifle to see deployment was the Chauchat CSRG, which predates the Federov Avtomat by exactly one year in both design and production. Meaning, of course, that they were developed simultaneously and independently, thereby rendering the question of which was first rather moot anyway.

      1. avatar Mike Betts says:

        Nope. If we apply the modern definition of an assault rifle, i.e., a select-fire rifle which fires an intermediate cartridge, the Chauchat doesn’t qualify since it fired the full-size 8x50mm Lebel rifle cartridge. It was also chambered in other calibers, including the American .30-06 and several others, but they were all full-size/power rifle calibers.

  8. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    perhaps he mined his inspirational muse from the west.

  9. avatar Will says:


    When did we finally accept the term “assault rifle?”

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      The Stg44 is an actual assault rifle. Unlike virtually every other gun that’s called an assault rifle by the media and the civilian disarmament industrial complex.

      1. avatar RMS1911 says:

        Assault is a verb or a noun not a rifle. You could start a gun company named assault and make rifles then you would have an honest to God assault rifle. you could Patent the rifle and trademark the name and sue everytime those moronic politicians slander your brand.

    2. avatar Donald Trumpmeister says:

      I don’t. My home is full of firearms and not one has ever assaulted me.

      1. avatar Mike Betts says:

        Except for your wallet.

    3. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      Will: Anytime it is a magazine fed, intermediate cartridge rifle/carbine with select fire.

    4. avatar BDub says:

      “assault weapon” is the made up political term.

    5. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      According to Merriam-Webster, the first use of the term was 1964. I’m not sure when it became widely accepted, but sometime around then I’d suppose.

    6. avatar Mick says:

      It is not a matter of accepting the term. The German word “sturmgewehr” literally means “storm-long gun” or “assault rifle.”

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        You’re right.

        I still can’t accept that.
        ; )

  10. avatar Mike Betts says:

    At least they’re going to rectify the error. Yesterday I read a 2012 dated history of the M-1 carbine which declared that it first saw service “in Europe in 1942” and I pointed out (pointedly) that we didn’t have “troops on the ground” in Europe in 1942, only in North Africa at the time in the Western Hemisphere, and my comment was deleted. Oh, yeah. It was from an NRA publication, too.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      According to Wikipedia, the m-1 carbine was indeed first deployed in 1942 with priority for troops in the European Theater…

      1. avatar Mike Betts says:

        The article said “in Europe”, not in the ETO. And that’s if you want to call North Africa (an entirely different continent) as part of the EUROPEAN Theater of Operations. We didn’t put “boots on the ground” in Europe (Sicily) until July of 1943 or the European mainland in Italy until September of 1943 with the invasion at Salerno.

      2. avatar Mike Betts says:

        We didn’t HAVE any troops in the ETO in 1942. Unless, of course, you want to count North Africa as being “European” (it being an entirely different continent). We didn’t have “boots on the ground” on what could properly be considered Europe until the invasion of Sicily in July of 1943 and the European mainland in September ’43 with the invasion at Salerno.

        1. avatar Mike Betts says:

          Unless the Allied troops were OSS operatives who were for some reason sent into occupied Europe armed with the M-1 carbine, we quite simply didn’t have anyone armed with that weapon in the ETO in 1942. If anyone can put paid to that assertion, please post it up. Even this septuagenarian isn’t too old to learn.

      3. avatar Joe R. says:

        So who was holding it while it was deployed? “Allied” troops?

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          The wiki wasn’t clear (shocker) but I personally would assume “Allies”.

      4. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Isn’t Wikipedia a rumor control site, with no real research or sources other than users’ input? Not exactly authoritative.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          The sources and citations are generally actually very good for firearms articles. It’s not a primary source but certainly good enough for an internet conversation 😀

    2. avatar Mausschubser says:

      Some Units training in Great Britain in 1942? Or lend lease weapons to Great Britain? Despite what the Brits say, they are still a part of geographic Europe.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    Close enough! Didn’t the rooshians “borrow” from Herr Hitler’s bunch?!?

    1. avatar Mike Oregon says:

      No, that Hugo Schmeisser was chained in the basement was purely a coincidence.

      1. avatar Chris says:

        Cute. Americans pointing out that the Russians copied ideas from the Germans …

        1. avatar Matty 9 says:

          TOUCHE SIR!

  12. avatar Matty 9 says:

    HOW IN THE HELL DOES A MISTAKE LIKE THIS HAPPEN???? An insult to Kalashnikov, and a funny hat tip to the AK’s lineage. You know mikhail was WAY inspired by the Stg 44

    1. avatar Seans says:

      What are you talking about. The AK47 takes far more from the M1 Garand then the STG44.

  13. avatar Joe R. says:

    I think a good meme would be to replace that AK with a guitar (there’s one of Johnny Cash with an AK slung on his back like his iconic guitar picture).

  14. avatar RuralJuror says:

    Don’t change the statue, just change the plaque beneath it. “Here stands Mikhail Kalashnikov, holding a Sturmgewehr 44 and declaring, “Hold my vodka, I’m gonna go to my workshop and put this piece of shit to shame.'”

  15. avatar It's just Boris says:

    Nyet … statue is fine!

  16. avatar Badwolf says:

    Freudian slip?

  17. avatar Roger Johnson says:

    The Russians caught the error and have ground the image off.

  18. avatar Dan says:

    Your site is impossible to use on a mobile device. Ads that take up the entire screen, the page constantly reloading to the top while you try to read… Never again, TTAG… Never again.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email