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IStories: Russia imports Western-made rifle scopes

Russia has reportedly imported hunting rifle scopes worth $174 million from Western countries in 2022-2023, with some being used in the war against Ukraine.
Leupold scope russia hunting rifle scopes
A screenshot from a video of a Russian soldier where the Leupold scope can be seen.
IStories: Russia imports Western-made rifle scopes

In 2022 and 2023, Russia imported hunting rifle scopes worth $174 million from Western countries, some of which are being used in the war against Ukraine, Latvia-based Russian news outlet Important Stories reported.

The imports were made despite the EU’s 12th package of EU sanctions against Russia, which Russia’s defense industry has so far managed to circumvent these measures, continuing to produce tanks and upgrading guided bombs.

Western-made scopes, including brands like Leupold (USA), Nightforce (USA-Japan), Holosun (USA-China), and Swarovski Optik (Austria), being showcased in numerous videos by Russian military personnel on YouTube.

The publication noted that according to customs data, in 2022-2023, Russia imported scopes worth 16 billion rubles (approx. $173.6 million). These imports, officially claimed to be for hunting weapons, are partially reaching the frontlines in Ukraine, IStories stated.

Leading importers include online stores like Pointer from St. Petersburg, operating under the slogan “Everything for successful hunting,” and Navigator from Moscow. Since the start of the war, Pointer has imported nearly 50,000 Holosun scopes worth over 3 billion rubles (approx. $3 million), along with other hunting and sports goods totaling 17 billion rubles (approx. $1,9 billion).

In 2022-2023, arms companies, including rifle manufacturer Orsis’ parent company Promtekhnologiya and Hunt, owned by Bespoke Gun rifle makers, purchased Pointer’s hunting products for 55 million rubles (approx. $600,000) and 33 million rubles (approx. $359,000), respectively. Navigator has imported scopes worth around 400 million rubles ($4,3 million), including over 2,000 Holosuns.

Among Navigator’s customers was St. Petersburg’s Tekhnologiya, linked to Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, purchasing optics, rangefinders, glasses, and other equipment worth 140 million rubles ($1,5 million).

The Moscow-based Bespoke Gun company acquired American Nightforce optical scopes and other items worth 12 million rubles (approx. $130,000), while the associated Hunt store spent 19 million rubles (approx. $200,000). Lobaev Arms’ Design Bureau of Integrated Systems also shopped at Navigator for 21 million rubles (approx. $233,000).

Journalists point out that the manufacturers likely don’t know where their products end up. Pointer uses intermediaries in China, while Navigator relies on those in Türkiye and Kazakhstan.

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