wayne lapierre maria butina


Parkland dad helps old photo of Russian spy, NRA vice president go viral

A photo from 2014 is making the rounds again.


Ellen Ioanes


Posted on Jan 2, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 10:22 pm CDT

On Dec. 30, Twitter users began sharing a photo of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Russian spy Maria Butina. The photo has been circulated for several months, but a joking rumor that LaPierre wanted the photo removed from the internet generated fervor among users, gaining traction after anti-gun activist Fred Guttenberg shared the photo. 

The campaign appears to have started with Twitter user @learningtohate.

“Whatever you do, DO NOT SHARE this photo of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre with Russian agent Maria Butina. Apparently, Wayne wants it removed from the internet,” @learningtohate tweeted.

Others started chiming in:

“Whatever you do, please please DO NOT SHARE this photo of #Republican @NRA #NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre with Russian spy Maria Butina. Apparently, Wayne wants it removed from the internet. Please,” user @paulsemel tweeted.

It continued into Tuesday and Wednesday.



On New Year’s Day, Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February, shared the photo too, with the caption, “Ok, I will not share this.  Oops!!! Just accidentally shared. I hope nobody looks at the picture of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Butina the Russian spy.”

Butina originally shared the photo, which was taken at the NRA convention in Indianapolis in 2014, on her social media account, according to The Trace.

Butina shared several photos of her with American politicians like Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal over the years and cultivated a close relationship with former NRA president David Keene.

Butina pled guilty in December to conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian state in the runup to the 2016 election. She worked with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Russian national bank, to infiltrate the NRA and create relationships with conservative politicians and candidates in an effort to influence U.S. policy toward Russia.

The Daily Dot’s efforts to reach LaPierre for comment were unsuccessful.

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*First Published: Jan 2, 2019, 12:10 pm CST