As part of our popular series “Those Aren’t Our AK-74s,” we note this story on Bulgaria's hottest growth industry: bootleg AK-4s.
Apparently, Russia's state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport is livid that Bulgaria would violate the sacred principles of intellectual property and trademark protection to produce an, um, we're going to call it an "open source AK-47." (See video demonstration.)
Oh, and before you ask, the Bulgarian version is better. Just ask Rosoboronexport.
According to sources in the company, the Bulgarian AK-47 is made at the Arsenal plant in Kazanluk. The open source version looks just like a Russian AK, but is "a much improved version of the Kalashnikov, quite different than the original gun and in compliance with international standards."
But the kicker?
Bulgaria's AK-47 costs less than the original, meaning that Rosoboronexport is loosing international contracts to a better, cheaper version of its own product.
"A 2003 tender for the supply of 40,000 sub-machine guns for the Iraqi army for USD 65 each [was] won by Arsenal and lost by the Russian 'Kalashnikov' manufacturer. The price of the Bulgarian gun is allegedly several times lower than the one of the Russian ones."
For it's part, the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy of Energy has denied everything. However, if anyone is looking to buy, they should talk to Borislav in the back. Good price.
Funny, that's exactly what the guy in the Moscow told me when I tried to update my version of Microsoft Windows.