Russia's ruble is in a free fall, fueled largely by the bottom dropping out on crude oil prices. Add economic sanctions by the United States and its allies, and more than a few pundits are wondering if Putin can even maintain control of a country caught in a crisis eerily similar to the one that put him in office.
In the middle of the chaos, Kalashnikov Concern-maker of virtually all Russian small arms, including AKs, Baikals, Izhmashs (like the IZH18 single-shot seen above) and many more-has announced an expensive reorganization and rebranding of its image. The new company motto is "Weapons of Peace."
The company is investing 4.5 billion rubles in an effort to double production and modernize. Plans include a clothing line and of course, rebranding and market research that have already accounted for 20 million rubles of that budget. A global distribution network is also in the planning stages.
Although we may not see any of the changes for years, we would be remiss if we didn't note the manner in which the Russian firearm industry is forging ahead through the storm.