Russia unveiled a massive monument in honor of the designer of the AK-47 rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, in a colorful military and religious ceremony on Tuesday. The statue, which is 30 feet in height, is located in central Moscow and the ceremony was attended by top government officials.

The statue depicts Kalashnikov holding his automatic weapon invention. During the entire ceremony, a Russian military guard of honor stood to attention, while second world war era songs played in the background.

Some of the dignitaries present included Russian Cultural Minister Vladimir Medinsky and the city's Mayor, Petr Biryukov. Medinsky in his speech said that the AK-47 was Russia's cultural brand, just before a Russian Orthodox Priest blessed the statue.

Invention

The first model of the AK-47 rifle was produced in 1947 after Kalashnikov heard Russian World War II soldiers complain about the quality of their weapons. A tank commander during the infamous war, Kalashnikov was also wounded in battle.

The designer passed away in 2013 at the age of 94, and said in past interviews that he designed the gun to help protect his motherland. He also regretted that it was used by child soldiers [VIDEO], criminals and was the number one weapon choice for jihadists.

Protests

The controversial unveiling of the monument in the Garden Ring neighborhood, Moscow's busiest area, was objected to by some Muscovites, who include residents living nearby. One protester was arrested holding a banner that read, "a creator of weapons is a creator of death."

According to a lawyer who lives in the vicinity, Dmitry Shabelnikov, the unveiling of the statue on Moscow's busiest and most commonly used street showed that Russia was a 'militaristic and neo-imperialistic' country, that felt it was surrounded by enemies, NBC News reported.

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AK-47

The AK-47 is the world's most popular firearm if statistics are anything to go by. According to the Kalashnikov website, one in every five guns is an AK-47.

Over the 60 years that the automatic rifle has been in production, so far, 70 million units have been produced by 50 countries as the official rifle of their respective militaries.

The AK-47 is also responsible for more deaths than all other types of modern weapons put together. Estimates say the rifle kills up to 250,000 people per year.

For his invention, Kalashnikov was awarded the Stalin Prize and the Order of the Red Star by the Russian government.