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Russia Is Relaunching One of Its Best-Known Brands: Kalashnikov

Russian General Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, holds his world-wide known submachine-gun during a ceremony on Feb. 20, 1997
Russian General Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, holds his world-wide known submachine-gun during a ceremony on Feb. 20, 1997Photograph by Sergey Chirikov/EPA

This might not seem the most opportune moment for a Russian company to launch a global rebranding campaign—especially when that company’s best-known product is associated with war.

But Kalashnikov, maker of the AK-47 assault rifle, plans to burnish its image in foreign export markets while introducing a line of branded apparel that includes hunting and survival gear. At a glitzy Dec. 2 reception in Moscow, company officials said their goal was to create a brand that’s “as recognized and valuable” as Apple’s.