The 5.54X39 mm AN-9 "Abakan" was designed to replace the standard issue AK-74, but budgetary shortfalls prevented this from happening. The first public appearance of the "Abakan" rifle took place in May 1993, at the Nizhny Novgorod arms exhibition. Before that, the weapon was only shown to a limited number of Russian technical experts or Government VIPs.
What makes the "Abakan" sophisticated (and dangerous, in the right hands) is it's rate of fire. It is capable of conventional semiautomatic fire, two-round bursts (at a Rounds Per Minute rate of 1800) and full automatic fire (with the first two rounds at 1,800 RPM, followed by the rest at 600 RPM). A new "delayed blowback impulse" allows the initial high rate of fire to also have a manageable recoil, which makes those critical first rounds capable of extreme accuracy. For additional reading, see http://club.guns.ru/eng/abakan.html - Adam Geibel
The 24 April issue of the UK newspaper Sunday Telegraph reported that the IRA had been secretly rearming with 20 brand new Russian AN-94 assault rifles bought in Moscow late in 2001. Russian security services discovered the deal and passed along details to British military intelligence in London. Cabinet ministers were then briefed on it, along with senior Northern Ireland politicians. The details remained secret, until being disclosed to The Telegraph by military intelligence officers in London in mid-April.