Kalashnikov glad to give name to new arms brand
Moscow, Feb 7 : 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 arms makers Izhmash and Izhmekh.
In November 2012, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defence industry, proposed a merger of Izhevsk-based Izhmash and Izhmekh under the Kalashnikov brand.
"This is a great honour 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 (Russia's) economic and defence power," the 93-year-old Kalashnikov said.
Izhmash has been manufacturing Kalashnikovs 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.