Kalashnikov Concern, the manufacturer of the famed Russian AK-47 assault rifle, is planning to increase the share of its civilian products to counter declining sales amid international sanctions on Russia over Crimean annexation in March 2014, according to reports Monday. Vladimir Dmitriev, the company’s marketing director, said that the manufacturer will focus on the domestic market in 2016.
“The [Russian] Defense Ministry still remains one of our major customers. ... However, today, the share of small arms under the state defense order does not exceed 5 percent, and one of the main targets is to increase the share of civilian products designed for the domestic market,” Dmitriev told Russia’s Izvestia newspaper, according to Sputnik News.
Dmitriev added that the United States was the major buyer of civilian small arms with about 70 percent of the products being exported to the U.S. prior to the sanctions. “This year we were not able to fully participate in the international exhibitions ... At the largest Eurosatory exhibition in Paris we will be able to show the Western partners only 3D models of our prospective shooting complexes," Dmitriev told the newspaper.
In July 2014, the U.S. listed several Russian companies including Kalashnikov Concern and air-defense systems manufacturer Almaz-Antey on the sanctions list, barring the arms manufacturers from applying for mid- and long-term loans from the U.S. as well as from signing contracts with firms in America.
Kalashnikov’s AK-47 is one of the world’s most popular and widely used assault rifle, which was first designed in 1945 by Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Russian engineer in the former Soviet Union. The gun has been in production for the last six decades and has been popular among various military factions.
Kalashnikov Concern was formed in August 2013 when the Izhmash and Izhmekh manufacturers were merged and formally renamed after the popular assault rifle.