Russia to bury Kalashnikov in new 'pantheon' of heroes

Russia to bury Kalashnikov in new 'pantheon' of heroes

MOSCOW - Russia was Friday to bury Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the iconic AK-47 assault rifle that was the favoured weapon of guerrillas worldwide, at a newly-opened cemetery for national heroes.

Kalashnikov, who died on Monday at the age of 94, was to receive a funeral with full state honours and be buried at the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery (FVMK) in Mytishchi outside Moscow, the defence ministry said.

His burial would be marked by a final salute of shots fired from the AK-47s that he designed, the ministry said in a statement.

The cemetery aims to be what Russian media describes as a "pantheon" for military heroes and also top statesmen. The cemetery was opened by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in June this year.

Initial reports after his death said that Kalashnikov was to be buried in the city of Izhevsk in the central Udmurtia region where he spent most of his working life.

However it appears officials decided he was a figure of such national significance he needed to be buried in the new cemetery and not in the provinces.

Kalashnikov's coffin was on Thursday flown to Moscow from Izhevsk where some 60,000 people paid their last respects to him in two days of mourning.

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