The problem with cheap, abundant, knockoff AK-47s is not that they are cheap, or abundant, but that they are counterfeit.Â Who says the Russians don’t get IP rights?
â€œMore than 30 foreign companies, private and state based, continue the illegal manufacturing and copying of small arms,â€ said Sergey V. Chemezov, the former K.G.B. officer and confidant of Mr. Putinâ€™s who directs Rosoboronexport, the state arms-marketing agency. â€œThey undermine the reputation of the Kalashnikov.â€
So far, few customers have paid notice. The largest customer in the market, the United States, has purchased whatever weapons it sees fit, coloring the AK-47â€™s 60th birthday, like much of Kalashnikov history, with another angry struggle.
â€œWe cannot tolerate the situation when only 10 percent of the Kalashnikovs are manufactured legally,â€ said Sergey V. Lavrov, Russiaâ€™s foreign minister. â€œWe cannot stand for this. We must fight.â€