The Obama administration’s sanctions against Russian companies and individuals over the conflict in Ukraine have had quite the impact on Russia’s economy. Kalashnikov Group, the operator of the “main” Russian AK manufacturing facility, was one of the organizations targeted by the sanctions.
With its access to the highly profitable American firearms market cut off, Kalashnikov Group is focusing its efforts on military contracts. As part of that move, the company has embarked upon a marketing effort to present its arms as “weapons of peace.”
VICE News spoke with Kalashnikov Group CEO Alexei Krivoruchko and Grigor Badalyan, the head of the media group assisting Kalashnikov in its new marketing efforts. The interviews (and some shots of Kalashnikov products at the shooting range) can be seen in the video below.
Perceiving firearms as tools for defense of one’s self, home, and country is no alien concept for American gun owners. It’s easy to see, however, why Kalashnikov Group might want to rebrand a rifle that is often considered a “weapon of evil/the enemy” by the uninformed public.
Regardless of whether its marketing efforts are successful, Kalashnikov Group has an uphill battle ahead of it. The Soviet Union’s proclivity for sharing tooling and design specs for the AK platform with its satellite states means that many of Kalashnikov Group’s potential customers already have domestic or otherwise cheap suppliers.
The following is one of the promotional videos Badalyan’s company has produced.
Image is a screenshot of video by VICE News on YouTube