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Kalashnikov looks to civilian market to boost sales

Kalashnikov forced to look to civilian market as the company struggles under the weight of U.S. sanctions.

By Carlo Munoz
Kalashnikov is planning to expand sales to civilian markets as Western sanctions pressure the company. Pictured, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) looks at a Kalashnikov automatic weapon during Russian-Belarus joint military exercises on September 29, 2009. File photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/bc25d7f04b8c4b8a0f7dde28ccc4af80/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Kalashnikov is planning to expand sales to civilian markets as Western sanctions pressure the company. Pictured, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) looks at a Kalashnikov automatic weapon during Russian-Belarus joint military exercises on September 29, 2009. File photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI | License Photo

MOSCOW, April 4 (UPI) -- Russian weapons firm Kalashnikov, maker of the iconic AK-47 assault rifle, is looking to expand its domestic sales as U.S. and international sanctions continue to strain the company's bottom line.

Russian military contracts continue to make up a large portion of the company's sales, Vladimir Dmitriev, the company's marketing director, said Monday.

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"However... [that] share of small arms under the state defense order does not exceed 5 percent, and one of the main targets is to increase the share of civilian products designed for the domestic market," this year, Dmitriev said in a interview with Russia's Izvestia newspaper, Sputnik News reports.

Dmitreiv did not provide details on the company's overall strategy to increase weapons sales within Russian domestic markets.

In 2014, the State Department barred Kalashnikov from doing business with American firms due to its involvement in Russia's annexation of Crimea that year. Along with Kalashnikov, Russian defense firm Almaz-Antey was also banned from conducting business with U.S. companies.

At the time of the sanctions, U.S. markets accounted for nearly 70 percent of the company's small-arms exports, including the famed AK-47 and its variants. The assault rifle remains one of the most popular small arms in the world, being the weapon of choice for a large number of foreign militaries as well as various extremist groups across the globe.

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