Senior NRA figures met with the wife of Konstantin Nikolaev, who allegedly gave financial support to Butina

Senior members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) met the wife of the Russian billionaire who allegedly gave financial support to a woman accused of being a secret agent for Moscow in the US.

The NRA members met Svetlana Nikolaeva, who is the head of a gun company that supplies sniper rifles to the Russian military and intelligence services, during a trip to Moscow during the 2016 election campaign.

Nikolaevas husband, Konstantin Nikolaev, allegedly provided funding to Maria Butina, a young Russian woman charged with carrying out an illicit spying operation in Washington. Nikolaev reportedly once invested in his wifes gun company.

The finding sheds further light on the links forged in recent years between Americas powerful gun lobby and well-connected Russians. US prosecutors allege Butinas activities were directed by Alexander Torshin, a senior Russian state banker and an NRA member.

The NRA and Nikolaevs companies did not respond to requests for comment.

No senior NRA official has made any public statement about Butinas case since news of the charges was announced by the US justice department on 16 July.

Butina, 29, was arrested this month and charged with illegally operating as a foreign agent. She is accused of working to infiltrate the NRA as part of an attempt to influence the Republican party and establish secret backchannels with American politicians. She has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said that her emails and online chats contained details of a Russian billionaire with deep ties to the Kremlin, who was described as Butinas funder. He was not identified in the charging documents, but was said to have a personal fortune valued at $1.2bn by Forbes magazine.

During her testimony to the Senate intelligence committee in April, Butina said Nikolaev had given her financial support, the Washington Post reported. The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that a representative for Nikolaev confirmed he gave money to Butinas gun rights group between 2012 and 2014.

Forbes currently estimates the net worth of Nikolaev, a transportation magnate, as $1.2bn. Nikolaev has been involved in several business projects connected to allies of Vladimir Putin, Russias president. His son, Andrey, volunteered for Donald Trumps presidential campaign, according to the Post.

Svetlana Nikolaeva with members of the delegation from Saudi Arabia to the MILEX arms convention in Minsk, Belarus, in May 2017.

Nikolaevs wife, Svetlana, is an accomplished gun user who has competed in shooting competitions in the US and Israel. She is the president of Promtechnologies, the parent company of Orsis, and has played a prominent role in the firms expansion.

Last year, Orsis began supplying its acclaimed T-5000 sniper rifle to Russias armed forces and Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB. The companys general director and chief gun designer, Vladimir Zlobin, is a former FSB official, according to his biography at a university operated by Russias ministry of foreign affairs.

Nikolaev has been named in several Russian media reports in recent years as an early investor in Orsiss parent company. But the company insisted he was not currently an owner of the firm. Mr Nikolaev is not connected with the company, an unidentified spokesperson said in an email. Asked whether Nikolaev held a stake in the company in the past, the spokesperson said: He is not involved with the company today. Further questions were not answered.

In December 2015, an NRA delegation including Pete Brownell, then the NRAs first vice-president, and David Keene, a past NRA president, visited Russia for an expedition partly funded by Right to Bear Arms, a Russian pro-gun group run by Butina with help from Torshin, her alleged government handler.

Maria Butina has been charged in the US with espionage for Russia. Photograph: Facebook

On 11 December, the NRA group visited the Orsis headquarters, where they met with Nikolaeva and other executives, as shown in video footage posted online by the company in 2016, which was first reported by Mother Jones. Several major NRA donors were also part of the delegation.

The NRA group, which also included David Clarke, then the sheriff of Milwaukee county and later a prominent campaign surrogate for Donald Trump, enjoyed meals and meetings with influential Russians including Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister. Rogozins son was previously an executive at Orsis. Clarke posted a photograph of himself holding an Orsis rifle to his Twitter account.

Nikolaevs son, Andrey, is studying at Columbia University in New York. Andrey was quoted in an article about far-right speakers on campus that was published last year by a student journalist, and identified as a member of the Columbia University College Republicans. But his name was removed from the article following the identification of his father as a supporter of Butina.

Konstantin Nikolaev also has American business interests. He is a director on the board of American Ethane, a Texas-based energy company that recently signed $26bn dollar export deal with China. The agreement, signed as part of Trumps official visit to Beijing last year, was championed by the president.

The Guardian disclosed earlier this month that a former chief of staff to Putin had a previously unreported investment in American Ethane. The former Putin aide, Alexander Voloshin, is part of a consortium of Russian investors in the firm that also previously included the London-based oligarch Roman Abramovich.


  1. you’re really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you have done a excellent job on this topic!

  2. Very good written article. It will be supportive to anybody who usess it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work – can’r wait to read more posts.

  3. Someone essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish extraordinary. Magnificent job!

  4. Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

  5. I don’t even understand how I stopped up here, however I thought this post was once great. I do not recognise who you’re however certainly you are going to a well-known blogger for those who aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  6. You can definitely see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  7. I’m so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  8. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours nowadays, but I never found any
    fascinating article like yours. It is lovely worth sufficient for me.

    In my view, if all website owners and bloggers
    made good content material as you did, the web will likely be much
    more useful than ever before.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here