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Our man in Brussels: The Insider has unmasked the GRU officer helping the Kremlin evade sanctions from his base in the heart of Europe

Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer Viktor Labin has set up shop in Brussels, home to the European Commission and NATO headquarters. From his office in a nondescript seven-story building on the outskirts of the Belgian capital, Labin supplies Russian arms manufacturers with European-made coordinate-measuring machines, a high-tech machine tool critical in the production of the Kremlin’s hypersonic Kinzhal missile. The sanctions-busting operation has become a family business. Labin’s younger son runs the Moscow-based middleman that delivers his father’s shipments to end users in Russia, while his elder son pitches in by organizing pro-Kremlin protests across Europe. Despite the Labin family’s unabashed efforts to aid the Russian military-industrial complex, none of them has been placed on the European Union’s sanctions list.

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Content
  • Critical machine tools for the Russian military-industrial complex

  • A GRU agent under the noses of the European Commission and NATO

  • Uncompromising fighters against the West

Critical machine tools for the Russian military-industrial complex

In October, The Insider revealed how gaps in the complex web of Western sanctions policies have allowed Russia to continue procuring many of the foreign-made tools and components necessary for the production of its hypersonic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile, one of the “wonder weapons” unveiled by Vladimir Putin during an infamous 2018 speech that included computer generated graphics showing Russian warheads flying towards the United States. That particular sanctions-busting scheme relied on loopholes and exceptions that make it possible for European companies to continue doing business with key players in the Kremlin’s military-industrial complex — and to do so without formally violating any regulations. However, not all of the methods Moscow uses to keep its war machine running fall “within the parameters of the law.”

One of the firms mentioned in The Insider’s October report was the Moscow-based Sonatek LLC (ООО «Сонатек»), which imports high precision machine tools from a range of European companies hailing from Italy (Tomelleri Engineering), Germany (MESSTECHNIK GMBH) and the United Kingdom (Aberlink). Russia has yet to establish a suitable import substitution alternative for coordinate-measuring machines, making the Russian military-industrial complex heavily reliant on imported products sourced through Sonatek. Although Russian government defense contracts have been classified in recent years, The Insider has obtained information indicating that Sonatek provided supply and maintenance services to a minimum of 18 Russian defense companies in 2022.

After The Insider’s October report was published, several of the European shipping companies that previously offered their services to Sonatek distanced themselves from the Moscow middleman. Among them was Baltic Shipping Agency LTD, a Poland-based firm that was adamant about its desire not to take part in “illegal activities aimed at circumventing sanctions.” However, the Baltic Shipping Agency did indeed exploit gaps in sanctions legislation in order to deliver coordinate-measuring machines to a key cog in the Russian war machine.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.

But the scheme discovered by The Insider last year turned out not to have been Sonatek’s only path around Western sanctions. Months before that report was released, a GRU officer named Viktor Labin was already operating on the ground in Brussels, routing European technology to the Russian reseller via a shell company registered in Turkey. Not coincidentally, that GRU officer is the father of Sonatek’s owner and CEO, the 35-year-old Ruslan Labin.

In his correspondence with The Insider, Ruslan Labin did not deny that Sonatek LLC is indeed affiliated with the “18 Russian defense companies” in question, responding that, “These are our customers, we used to supply them with something [and] maybe we’re supplying them now.”

When asked directly whether he and his family members are employees of Russia’s Defense Ministry, he explained, “My father is a businessman, but my brother and I never served in the army” — followed by a smiling emoticon.

A GRU agent under the noses of the European Commission and NATO

Viktor Labin is the founder of the Belgian company Groupe d'Investissement Financier.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.
Viktor Labin
Viktor Labin

Labin’s sons, Roman Labin and the aforementioned Sonatek CEO Ruslan Labin, are listed as directors on Groupe d'Investissement Financier official documents.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.

Groupe d'Investissement Financier is headquartered at Avenue de la Ferme Rose, 7, a short drive south from the Brussels city center. It was here that The Insider met with Viktor Labin, who claimed that, “after the sanctions” were imposed on Russian companies following the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the elder Labin stopped making deliveries to his son's firm in Moscow.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.
This building houses the offices of Groupe d’Investissement Financier
This building houses the offices of Groupe d’Investissement Financier

However, records show that Groupe d'Investissement Financier has done extensive business with Sonatek, delivering machines and equipment to the Russian firm’s Moscow address. It was only in April 2023 that Viktor Labin’s Belgian entity began processing its deliveries to Sonatek through a Turkish shell company with a similar name: GROUPE D’INVESTISSEMENT FINANCIER OSBORNE. (Turkey has become a popular transshipment point for sanctioned goods being smuggled to Russian end users. As The Insider recently revealed, Taiwanese machine tools have also made their way to Russian arms manufacturers via this route).

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.

While GRU officers do not publicly advertise their professional affiliations, all of the available information regarding Viktor Labin’s background indicates a close connection with Russia’s military intelligence arm. According to address databases, Viktor Labin was formerly registered in Moscow at the renowned dormitory of the GRU academy on Narodnoe Opolchenie Street 52, Building 4.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.

After graduating from the academy, he took up residence in Zelenograd at the address of building 1818, where housing is allocated to members of the military. Although the exact timeline of his relocation to Europe remains unclear, records indicate that by the year 2000, the elder Labin had already established a company in Belgium and was living on Winston Churchill Avenue in Brussels. Records also show that Labin’s son Roman was issued a pass by a hospital affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Defense in connection with the COVID-19 lockdown in Moscow. At the time, permits indicating that the holder was engaged in indispensable work were officially required in order to move freely around the city.

Viktor Labin has another company in Belgium, Projet Plus. According to the company’s official registration, it shares the address of Viktor Labin’s private residence — an apartment block featuring the surname “Labin” on both the doorbell and mailbox.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.
Viktor Labin’s apartment block in Brussels
Viktor Labin’s apartment block in Brussels

Uncompromising fighters against the West

While Ruslan Labin helps his father manage by managing Sonatek in Moscow, his brother Roman Labin lives in Brussels on the Chaussee d’Alsemberg. Roman Labin earns a living in Belgium as a sole proprietor doing business with his brother's Russian company. In 2022, Sonatek paid Roman 3.3 million roubles ($37,100 at the current exchange rate) for what was listed as the supply of a Mitsubishi machine tool.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.
Roman Labin
Roman Labin

Despite his physical presence in Europe, Roman Labin is not shy about flaunting his political beliefs. A 2013 YouTube video shows Roman translating from Russian to French as part of an anti-American protest in Paris. Roman also featured prominently in a 2014 protest in Brussels, this time purporting to stand “against Ukrainian fascism.”

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.
Roman Labin, in the center of Brussels, wearing a St. George’s ribbon — a symbol widely associated with Russian nationalism and militarism
Roman Labin, in the center of Brussels, wearing a St. George’s ribbon — a symbol widely associated with Russian nationalism and militarism

Viktor Labin’s wife, Vera Labina, fits right in with the rest of the family. Her VK page (the Russian equivalent of Facebook), expresses fervent support for Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.
Vera Labina mourning the death of a prominent separatist from the “Donetsk People’s Republic” “Sparta” battalion
Vera Labina mourning the death of a prominent separatist from the “Donetsk People’s Republic” “Sparta” battalion

Ruslan Labin has made his social media accounts private. However, the Sonatek CEO does not need Facebook, Instagram, or VK to make his pro-war stance known — his work to supply the Russian military-industrial with the tools it needs to continue producing modern weaponry speaks for itself.

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.
Ruslan Labin
Ruslan Labin

As for the patriarch of the family, Viktor Labin’s political beliefs come through clearly in his choice of rhetoric. In a brief telephone call, Labin accused The Insider of being a “Banderovite,” a reference to Stepan Bandera, a controversial figure from Ukraine’s 20th century history. In recent years, Russian propaganda has cited Bandera’s continuing popularity among Ukrainian nationalist movements as a key pillar in the Kremlin’s argument that Ukraine — which in 2019 freely and fairly elected a president of Jewish heritage by a margin of 73-26 — needs to be “denazified.”

That conversation ended almost immediately after The Insider asked Viktor Labin if he has any relationship with the GRU. Labin responded by saying that he would “send you on three letters” — a common Russian insult premised on the fact that the language’s most vulgar term connoting the male reproductive organ is a three-letter word — essentially telling The Insider to “f*** off.” However, since Labin ended the call before a follow-up could be asked, it remains possible that the three unknown letters in question were actually “G-R-U.”

With contributions from Anastasia Mikhailova

18 Russian defense companies affiliated with Sonatek
  • JSC UPKB Detal (part of the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Develops and manufactures important technical elements of missiles such radio altimeters, homing heads and onboard radars. 
  • MKB Iskra (Tactical Missile Armament Corporation). Iskra produces engines for air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Kh-31 and Kh-59 airborne missiles are some of the Tactical Missile Armament’s products used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
  • PJSC Signal (Rostec). This firm produces, among other things, active jamming stations that are mounted on aircraft and ground systems and disrupt enemy radars.
  • PJSC Plant “Krasnoye Znamya” (Almaz-Antey). Manufactures printed circuit boards for microchips that are installed in high-tech Russian weapons. The company has been under U.S. sanctions since 2016.
  • PJSC ODK-UMPO (Rostec). Its main military products are engines for Russian front-line aviation, including the Su-25, Su-35S and Su-57.
  • PJSC NPP Impulse (Almaz-Antey). The company’s main focus is the production of weapons and ammunition, as well as radio-electronic equipment used “in all areas of defense and civilian technology — from engineering to space.”
  • OJSC MZ Arsenal. Specializes in the manufacture of artillery and missile launchers for warships.
  • JSC NPP Radiosvyaz (Rostec). Develops and manufactures jam-proof satellite communications and navigation systems, and is the sole supplier of some products.
  • JSC Tulatochmash (Rostec). Manufactures computer simulators, equipment for training ranges and close combat weapons.
  • JSC NPO Kurganpribor. Designs and manufactures components for multiple rocket launchers and aircraft missiles, fuses for mines and bombs. The company’s products are “represented in all branches of the armed forces.”
  • JSC NPO GIPO (Rostec). A leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems, including thermal imagers for air defense systems, helicopters and ATGMs.
  • Polyus Research Institute of M.F. Stelmakh, JSC (Rostec). One of Russia’s leading enterprises in the field of laser technologies. Among others, it supplies laser rangefinders and guidance systems for Krasnopol artillery shells.
  • JSC MMP n.a. V.V. Chernyshev (Rostec). Supplies components for Mi-8, Mi-24, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopter engines, which were previously produced only by Ukraine's Motor-Sich.
  • MPO Rumyantsev JSC (Rostec). Produces various units for engines of military aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic missile carriers.
  • JSC Corporation “Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology” (MITT). This company produces unguided rockets for tactical aviation in addition to strategic nuclear missiles for the war in Ukraine.
  • Kazan Soyuz Design Bureau (Almaz-Antey). Develops and manufactures solid-fuel engines, particularly for anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • JSC NPP Start (Rostec). The company's core business is launchers and transport-loading vehicles, including those for MLRS and SAM systems.
  • JSC Duks. Produces air-to-air missiles, including the R-73 and its modifications, which are used to arm Russian fighter jets.

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