Thanks to U.S. sanctions on Russia, a small Florida city is getting a boost to its local economy. Iconic Russian arms maker Kalashnikov is setting up a factory in Pompano Beach, where it will manufacture the line of its rifles thatareavailable in the United States.
The Kalashnikov Concern, a major Russian defense firm and the maker of the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle, was among the Russian firms slapped with sanctions in 2014. As a result, the company’s U.S. subsidiary severed all ties with its Russian parent company.
By the time the sanctions were unveiled, Kalashnikov USA had planned to move its operation to Florida from its manufacturing operation in Pennsylvania. That move was accelerated by the Treasury Department’s penalties against the company, said Kalashnikov USA spokeswoman Laura Burgess.
Kalashnikov USA was established to help the Russian arms maker to import its wares to the United States. But the company switched to making weapons in America to get around the 2014 sanctions.
According to Burgess, the company hopes to have production up and running by the second quarter of this year. It is not yet clear how many workers Kalashnikov plans to hire in Florida, nor how many weapons the company plans to produce, Burgess said. The Pompano Beach factory will manufacture rifles — including variants of the AK-47 — and shotguns.
The AK-47 is the world’s most popular assault rifle and has served as a mainstay of armed conflict since its invention in 1947. Its large-scale production in the Soviet Union, ease of use, reliability, and price point has made it a favored weapon of armed forces, guerrillas, and terror groups worldwide. Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was rarely seen without a special forces-version of the AK-47 that was swiped from a dead Russian trooper during the Afghan war, and the weapon has become an instantly recognizable symbol of armed resistance.
Now, the modern incarnation of that rifle will be churned out on a Florida assembly line.
A Princeton PhD, was a U.S. diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Central/Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. After leaving the State Department in order to express opposition to the planned invasion of Iraq, he taught courses at Georgetown University pertaining to the tension between propaganda and public diplomacy. For many years he shared ideas on the theme "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United" with Eurasian/European delegates participating in the "Open World" program.
Brown’s articles have appeared in numerous publications. A recent piece is “Janus-Faced Public Diplomacy: Creel and Lippmann During the Great War” (published in Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future; now online).
He is the author (with S. Grant) of The Russian Empire and the USSR: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States (also online). In the past century, he served as an editor/translator of a joint U.S.-Soviet publication, The Establishment of Russian-American Relations, 1765-1815.