Russia’s Kalashnikov to launch fashion line

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The makers of Russia’s iconic AK-47 assault rifle are moving into fashion to get around Western sanctions on its weapons.

At a flashy event in Moscow Tuesday, Kalashnikov Concern unveiled a new look and a new red-and-black K-shaped logo as guests were handed empty AK bullet magazines.

The arms producer was one of the companies targeted this year by Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

It lead to a freeze in delivery of up to 200,000 rifles to the United States and Canada, and the cancelling of an advertising campaign there to be spearheaded by Hollywood actor Steven Seagal.

But far from scaling back, Kalashnikov is set to double production and diversify into clothing and accessory lines, company CEO Alexei Krivoruchko, told Russian news agencies.

He said the company intends to quadruple its sales by 2020 through expanding domestic sales, doubling production capacity and increase exports to South America, Asia and Africa.

Kalashnikov makes weapons for military, civilian and sports use mainly for export markets.

Sales of its Saiga shotguns and rifles have actually increased in the US since sanctions were imposed, according to reports.

The bestselling 1940s-designed AK model has become ubiquitous due to its low price, simplicity and reliability, with over 70 million sold worldwide.

In 2014 Kalashnikov sold 140,000 guns, double the figure in 2013, the company said.

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