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Russia to check illegal production of AK-47

world Updated: Aug 18, 2007 02:34 IST
Fred Weir

Russia is going to crack down on illicit production of its most famous export, the Kalashnikov AK-47, industry officials say.

The rifle, which is used by nearly 50 armies and many guerrilla movements around the world, is still made at the home plant of its venerable designer, 87-year old Mikhail Kalashnikov, in Izhevsk.

But more than 90 per cent of the 1-million AK-47’s sold globally each year are produced in at least 35 unlicensed factories in Poland, Bulgaria, China, and other countries, and often sold for a fraction of Izhevsk’s $400 price tag.

“This is a major problem for us,” Vladimir Grodetsky, director of the Izmash factory that makes the weapons, told a press conference. “It’s against international law and it’s against our factory.”

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said this week that Russia will take legal action against the “counterfeiters” who have been flooding world markets with fake Kalashnikovs. Russian officials are particularly upset at a Bulgarian company called Arsena.