What could possibly go wrong? Kalashnikov store opens at Moscow airport selling model guns

The company says Kalashnikov is a famous Russian brand and expect tourists to snap up its souvenirs

An airport official said the guns on sale were clearly imitations and would pose no security problems. Photo / Getty Images
An airport official said the guns on sale were clearly imitations and would pose no security problems. Photo / Getty Images

Gunmaker Kalashnikov, whose AK-47 assault rifle has been the weapon of choice for rebels and terrorists the world over for years, has opened a shop at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

An airport may seem an odd choice of venue for the store - which sells realistic model guns as well as hunting gear - but the company says Kalashnikov is a famous Russian brand and they expect tourists to snap up their souvenirs.

An airport official said the shop, which also offers novelties including pens, umbrellas, bags, hats, camouflage gear and "I love AK" T-shirts, was in a section of Sheremetyevo separated from the departure gates by a rail link.

The shop is run by the Kalashnikov Concern, the company - 51 percent of which is owned by the Kremlin - which makes the famous AK-47. Photo / Getty Images
The shop is run by the Kalashnikov Concern, the company - 51 percent of which is owned by the Kremlin - which makes the famous AK-47. Photo / Getty Images

He said the automatic pistols and rifles on sale would very clearly be imitations and would pose no security problems.

"Kalashnikov is one of the most popular brands that come to mind for most people in the world when they hear about Russia,' said Kalashnikov's head of marketing, Vladimir Dmitriev.

"So, we are pleased to provide the opportunity for everyone to take away from Russia a souvenir with our company brand," he added.

The AK-47 has acquired an iconic status due to its low production costs and reliability in extreme conditions.

A man poses with one of the model guns on sale in the Kalashnikov shop. Photo / Getty Images
A man poses with one of the model guns on sale in the Kalashnikov shop. Photo / Getty Images

The weapon was invented in 1947 by a Red Army soldier, Mikhail Kalashnikov, who drew up his design while recovering in hospital from injuries received in battle.

He died in 2013, aged 94, after receiving dozens of awards during his lifetime, including three Order of Lenins.

It was introduced in 1948, armed the whole of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe in communist times and pro-Soviet rebel forces across Africa and Asia.

But AK-47s have also fallen into the hands of Islamist terrorists as well as gangsters and mafiosi around the world.

Sheremetyevo International Airport is Russia's busiest airport, handling 31 million passengers a year. Photo / Getty Images
Sheremetyevo International Airport is Russia's busiest airport, handling 31 million passengers a year. Photo / Getty Images

It is produced under licence beyond Russian frontiers - and in some cases illegally, without permission - and remains one of the most popular assault rifles in the world.

The company which makes the weapon, Izhmash, rebranded itself in 2014 as the Kalashnikov Group. Although 51 per cent of shares remains owned by the Russian government, it is considered a private company.

Sheremetyevo International Airport is Russia's largest airport by passenger traffic.
In 2015 it handled more than 31 million passengers and is the major international gateway to Moscow.

- Daily Mail

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