MOSCOW -- After several false starts and some grumbling from locals, a prominent statue of a gun-toting Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of one of the world's most ubiquitous weapons of war, is set to be unveiled in an official ceremony in the Russian capital on September 19.
The 7.5-meter metal likeness -- still covered in plastic -- features Kalashnikov cradling his eponymous AK-47 assault rifle and looking west down the Garden Ring that loops around central Moscow.
The statue was hoisted onto its plinth over the weekend beside a new business center.
A second metalwork sculpture, of St. George slaying a dragon with a spear tipped with a rifle sight with AK-47 written on it, stands nearby.
The Kalashnikov statues' sculptor, Salavat Shcherbakov, is also the artist behind a towering 17-meter statue of Prince Vladimir the Great that was erected -- amid controversy -- outside the Kremlin in November at a ceremony attended by President Vladimir Putin.
Shcherbakov told TASS news agency that the rifle was added to his original plan for the Kalashnikov statue because people might not recognize him without his signature contribution to the Soviet Army.