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Russian builder of AK-47 shrugs off Canada-U.S. sanctions as sales grow

  • March 14, 2017

It might be a usually place in a universe that will sell we guns during a airfield instead of holding them away.

Travellers murdering time during Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport are curious as they steep into a emporium with a gun shelve on a wall and a cupboard full of pistols nearby a money register.

Next to that are racks of kids’ t-shirts printed with “I Love AK.”

‘The Kalashnikov is Russia, and Russia is the Kalashnikov.’
Artyom Baranowsky

That’s AK-47, a famed Russian rapid-fire attack purloin that has done a manufacturer, Kalashnikov, a worldwide name. 

“Why not? we consider it’s a good thing from Russia, good souvenir,” says Artyom Baranowsky, manager of a initial Kalashnikov judgment store in Russia.

Opened final summer, it sells Kalashnikov-branded products trimming from cellphone cases to bullet-shaped thermoses to ridicule rifles and pistols. They’re tangible Kalashnikov weapons you can arrange and disassemble; some fire low-power cosmetic pellets, others can’t fire during all. The store’s not authorised to sell ammunition.

For Russians, a Kalashnikov is not usually a brand, says Baranowsky. “It’s something in a bequest of each male in Russia. The Kalashnikov is Russia, and Russia is a Kalashnikov.”

A symbol of power, described by a normal Russian as a arms used to strengthen freedom, to make peace, not war, regardless of a lethal legacy. 


Kids t-shirts reading ‘I Love AK’ are prohibited sellers in a Kalashnikov judgment store during Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Other souvenirs during a store embody tangible Kalashnikov guns and rifles — though not ammunition. (Susan Ormiston/CBC )

Baranowsky says he sells during slightest a pistol a day. He records the pass series of a customer, who’s compulsory to put a item in their checked luggage.  

Impact of sanctions was ‘drastic’ during first

The store is one approach Kalashnikov Concern is branching out to stay alive. 

The association was hold adult in sanctions slapped on Russia by a U.S. and Canada in 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea. Canada barred any business or trade with Kalashnikov Concern and combined a CEO to a list of people criminialized from entering Canada.

The U.S. had been a company’s biggest market, so a impact of sanctions was “drastic” during initial as exports plummeted by scarcely half, according to emissary CEO of sales and selling Vladimir Dmitriev.

“As prolonged as we are being cut from one of a many essential and moneyed markets, we have to find some other strategy,” he told CBC News during Kalashnikov’s corporate offices in Moscow. “We found that answer in a diversification of a business itself.”


Vladimir Dmitriev, emissary CEO of sales and selling during Kalashnikov Concern, says western sanctions primarily harm a association though it has now rebounded. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

Dmitriev says trade volume has now scarcely doubled again, with new business in 30 countries that do not support a sanctions. The bureau in Izhevsk is employing 1,700 additional staff. 

“A few years ago, it looked like Stalingrad,” Dmitriev says, referring to a city scarcely broken in a Second World War battle.

‘It’s a fast enlargement for us — not usually a breadth of products we are provision but the peculiarity of operations, and a sales indication as well.’
– Vladimir Dmitriev

But now a 200-year-old gun bureau is being totally rebuilt to contemporary standards. In 2014 a arms builder was reorganized into a public-private association (Concern), with 51 per cent being hold by a state-owned Rostec, and 49 per cent hold in private hands.

Kalashnikov is producing a complicated AK for municipal use, due out after this year, with a troops chronicle to follow. It acquired a determining interest in a association that creates unmanned aerial systems (drones) and another interest in a association that creates attack alighting boats. Its Baikal brand makes sport weapons and apparel. Kalashnikov has found new, prepared markets, quite in a Middle East, where it could build a new factory.

“It’s a fast enlargement for us — not usually a breadth of products we are provision though a peculiarity of operations, and a sales indication as well,” Dmitriev says. 

‘It’s a really famous gun’

The AK-47 attack purloin was grown in 1947 by Red Army infantryman Mikhail Kalashnikov. Easier to use and some-more durable than a rivals, a AK (Avtomat Kalashnikov) was fast pumped out in factories in a former Soviet republics.

As new models were expelled in a 1970s, comparison AK models, still operational, were upheld down a arms sequence so that an estimated 60-100 million are still widespread around battlefields and civic crusade zones, in a hands of mercenaries, insurgents and terrorists, as good as soldiers.

Artyom Baranowsky Manager Kalashnikov store

Artyom Baranowsky binds a renouned pistol for sale during a airfield store. ‘The Kalashnikov is Russia and Russia is a Kalashnikov,’ he says. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

That this gun carries mythic standing in Russia is obvious.

A executive Moscow bar called Razvetka, or “intelligence service,” located directly opposite a travel from FSB headquarters, sports dual AK-47’s expel in metal as a doorway handles.

A 19th-century brewery built a live sharpened gallery low in a attic where business can try their palm during handling a Kalashnikov.

Manager Igor Fedyukin says given it non-stop 18 months ago, a place is attracting Russians though also tourists from around a world, including from Canada. 

“It’s a really famous gun, since of mechanism games and cinema — Counter-Strike, Call of Duty,” Fedyukin says. “People are meddlesome in how easy or how formidable it is to fire a genuine Kalashnikov.” 

AK 47 doorway handles

A Moscow bar directly opposite from FSB domicile (formerly a KGB) sports dual AK-47’s expel in steel as a doorway handles. Its name Razvetka means ‘intelligence service.’ (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

The code is even fluctuating a strech into a U.S., where a Florida association has skeleton to make a new Kalashnikov “Alfa” model beginning this year. Kalashnikov USA has chartering rights from a Russian arms maker, and will furnish American-made attack rifles for a remunerative American market, removing around a import ban. 

Marketing a Kalashnikov name is proof to be an mercantile generator for a mythological Russian company.

“Kalashnikov is not usually a tiny arms manufacturer anymore,” says Dmitriev.

“We’re perplexing to conquer some areas where we weren’t benefaction before” he says, withdrawal speechless a apparent end that western sanctions, distant from spiteful Kalashnikov Concern, have revived a company, forcing it to refocus and pull into new markets fervent to buy adult a brand.

“We’re still a good aged Russian guys producing a good aged Kalashnikovs, though now we are technologically profound.”

And savvy marketers. Kalashnikov concept stores are designed for other Russian cities and beyond. 

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