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Thu Feb 7, 2019, 11:02 AM

The NRA Welcomed Maria Butina--Even As She Worked to Arm Anti-American Thugs Abroad

The NRA Welcomed Maria Butina—Even As She Worked to Arm Anti-American Thugs Abroad
While NRA leaders embraced her, Butina denounced US sanctions and advised a militia group helping Putin seize Crimea.


Mother Jones has uncovered a trail of activity showing that during the same period when top NRA leaders welcomed Butina into the fold—meeting with her extensively in Moscow and the United States—Butina actively supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military takeover of Crimea. In the immediate aftermath of the invasion and annexation in March 2014, Butina denounced retaliatory sanctions by the Obama administration and traveled to Crimea to promote the arming of pro-Russian separatists. Her efforts there included pledging support to a leader of a militia group that violently seized a Crimean news outlet it deemed “pro-American” and swiftly repurposed for a Kremlin propaganda operation.


On the weekend of March 25, 2014, Butina held a press conference in Crimea with Sergei Veselovsky, a leader of a pro-Russian separatist group called the Crimean Front. During their talk, Butina touted her connections with Kremlin officials and mentioned a civilian gun initiative by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin—at the time freshly sanctioned by the United States, and who would be among those greeting NRA leaders during Butina’s conference in Moscow the following year. Butina spoke of her gun group’s plans to expand into Crimea, and Veselovsky asked about arming local citizens in response to news of Ukrainian militants heading for the region. “The enemy is cunning,” he noted, and “does not rest.” Butina responded that Russian law was now “especially relevant” for arming locals: “And on our end, we will try to help maximally, of course, on the legal front. We’ll tell people how to do it absolutely right, and how to behave in a self-defense scenario.”

The Crimean Front was involved in more than self-defense. When Putin’s annexation began, Veselovsky had led a “Cossack self-defense unit” to storm the offices of the independent Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism. As seen in video posted on that March 1 by other local media, the group of about two dozen men clad in camouflage uniforms and balaclavas marched in formation to the building and demanded entry. Two of the masked men then hurled a concrete block through a front window and the group forced its way inside.

The journalists fled to Kiev, as the militia group denounced the influence of “American agents” and recast the outlet as “News Front.” Reportedly funded by the Russian security services and since run by an editor who helped seize the offices, the outlet publishes stories attacking US sanctions and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, among other anti-American content. Since Donald Trump became president, News Front has also touted ties with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Kremlin-linked lawyer who attended the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and was recently indicted. After news emerged that top Trump campaign officials sought to acquire “dirt” on Hillary Clinton at that meeting, News Front provided “exclusive” documents to the American press purportedly showing Veselnitskaya had no such material.

Butina held her March 2014 press conference with the Crimean Front at their newly seized media headquarters. Four weeks later, she traveled to Indianapolis for the NRA annual convention, where NRA executives welcomed her as a VIP.


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Reply The NRA Welcomed Maria Butina--Even As She Worked to Arm Anti-American Thugs Abroad (Original post)
dajoki Feb 7 OP
Girard442 Feb 7 #1

Response to dajoki (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2019, 12:12 PM

1. When fascism comes to America...

...it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross — and fondling a gun.

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