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Izhmash Looks to Cash In on Kalashnikov Name

An Izhmash stand at a weapons exhibition in India earlier this year.

The producer of the Kalashnikov assault rifle is looking to acquire the rights to the famous name from the Kalashnikov family with hopes to earn money selling high-tech products and branded merchandise bearing the name.

The state-owned Izhevsk Machine Building Factory, or Izhmash, is currently holding negotiations to buy the name from the family of Mikhail Kalashnikov, who completed the design for his legendary weapon in 1947, giving it the name AK-47.

The general director of the arms maker, Maxim Kuzyuk, said the producer could provide the Kalashnikov family a steady income if it had the rights and would not put it on "cheap souvenirs."

"In expanding the use of the brand, we would focus on high-tech products that correspond to the Kalashnikov values: reliability, ease of production," Kuzyuk said in a statement, RIA-Novosti reported Thursday.

In September, the Defense Ministry said it had halted purchases of the Kalashnikov rifle, since reserves of the gun are too large and the ministry is waiting for Izhmash to come up with a new model. Last month, acting deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin said updated pistol, rifle and sniper models for the Russian armed forces will be developed by a special military lab based in the Moscow region.

While Izhmash may not plan to produce trinkets with the Kalashnikov name, the company is interested in making other marketable products, such as those offered by Italian firearm maker Beretta.

"[Beretta] has their own line of clothing and accessories for hunting, sport, and active leisure aimed at their target audience. We're evaluating the potential of that kind of model for the Kalashnikov brand," Kuzyuk said.

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