Maria Butina

Where Things Stand: Maria Butina’s Bizarre Sign-Of-Life Interview Is Riddled With Kremlin Propaganda
This is your TPM evening briefing.

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on this character.

Convicted Russian spy Maria Butina just did a bizarre and rather concerning interview with the BBC in which she argued that Ukraine is “bombing” its own civilians and pushed Kremlin talking points that President Vlodymyr Zelensky, a Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors, is a Nazi.

The interview honestly sounds like a confused hostage video. I’ll get into the details more below. But since serving 15 months in U.S. prisons after being convicted of working as an unregistered foreign agent — for attempting to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and after admitting to helping set up a Russian backchannel for conservative strategists ahead of the 2016 election — Butina returned to Russia in 2019. And she’s a politician now — apparently a fairly successful one. Butina became a member of the Russian parliament’s lower chamber in 2021 and has batted away accusations that President Putin helped hand her the position as a “reward” for her criminal endeavors in the U.S.

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