The Soviet Union was very pragmatic. If they had something that worked, they didn’t really change it. They had AK, they kept AK. They just changed caliber and improved a few items here and there for both production ease and effectiveness.
The PKM is another example, just an AK that Kalashnikov made into a belt-fed for the 7.62x54r. He kept the proven piston and rotating bolt, built around a non-disintegrating belt and open bolt firing mechanism. He just flipped the carrier and piston essentially.
And as for optics and mounting… they had a method, they kept it. Side rail with a clamp. For dots, for sniper scopes, for carbine scopes, for machine gun scopes, and for rocket launcher scopes. All used the Warsaw Pact Side Rail Bracket.
Henry and Josh of 9-Hole Reviews speculate the ‘why‘ of the optical choice and I concur with their hypothesis. With a, perhaps, surplus of RPG sights available and RPG-7’s being more limited in their use than the AK-74’s the optics were of greater use as observation tools even if iron sights were still the primary method for engagement.
The ability to observe targets, observe and adjust for impacts, and even simply observe whether or not someone is or is not a threat make adding the sights an advantage to the Red Army soldiers, especially in Afghanistan where the distances being fought over were much greater than in Europe.
The Soviet military was well known for very simple fixes to tech conundrums, perhaps most famously when they took pencils to space while NASA spent millions on a Zero-G pen. If they have something that works okay they see no need to develop better. It’s contrary to the American arms race, especially in 2020, where everyone is on the race to make a better mouse trap.
Essentially if the Soviet Union found a solution, they took the Frank’s Red Hot approach and put that sh*t on everything.