MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government has appointed Konstantin Busygin as the new head of the Izhmash small-arms factory to lead its amalgamation with gun-maker Izhmekh under the Kalashnikov brand, Deputy-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.
“Konstantin Busygin, an experienced and strong manager, has been appointed head of Izhmash research and production association. The work of creating the Kalashnikov holding company has begun,” Rogozin wrote in his Twitter account.
Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s defense and industrial complex, proposed in November a merger of Izhevsk-based Izhmash and Izhmekh under the Kalashnikov brand.
“We need to set up a new-old brand, named ‘Kalashnikov’, based on the two old factories,” he said. “Izhmekh and Izhmash, with respect, are not a brand. Kalashnikov – that’s a brand.”
He criticized the two plants at that time for losing staff, having financial difficulties and over-capacity, and making similar products.
In October, Izhmash employees, including the legendary Mikhail Kalashnikov who designed the original Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, sent a letter to the Kremlin complaining about falling production and low wages.
Production slumped 50 percent in September, leading to wage cuts and dismissals.
Izhmash produces over 70 types of weaponry, including firearms, aircraft guns, precision artillery rounds, as well as a variety of sporting and hunting weapons.
Izmash said last month its sales of civilian firearms, particularly for export, were booming, while state military orders were at a very low level.