MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s most famous firearm designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov, says he is happy to give his name to the brand of a small-arms corporation being formed by the merger of Russian gun makers Izhmash and Izhmekh, the Izhmash press secretary said on Wednesday.
In November, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s defense industry, proposed a merger of Izhevsk-based Izhmash and Izhmekh under the Kalashnikov brand.
“This is a great honor for me. The name does not belong to me, as the designer, any more. It belongs to the country and all Russians. I will be happy if my name helps to develop Russia’s export potential and strengthen the Fatherland’s economic and defense power,” the press secretary quoted Kalashnikov, 93, as saying.
The legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle
Izhmash has been manufacturing Kalashnikov guns since the world-famous assault rifle first went into mass production in 1949, while Izhmekh is best known for producing Makarov and Yarygin pistols.
However, both companies have been recently experiencing financial difficulties and a sharp drop in production.
The government is now planning to revive them by merging them under the new brand.