Russian Oligarchs

Maria Valeryevna Butina : Elite Russian Spy 2023

Maria Valeryevna Butina : Russian Spy Or Russian Oligarch?

Maria Valeryevna Butina is a Russian politician, journalist, and former entrepreneur. In 2018, she was convicted of acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Russia in the United States. The FBI stated that Butina had successfully sought ties to the Republican Party.

Early Life of Maria Valeryevna Butina

Maria Butina was born on November 10, 1988, in Barnaul, Siberia, Russia. Barnaul is about 340 kilometers (210 miles) east of the border between Russia and Kazakhstan. Butina’s mother was the chief engineer of an energy company. Her father, Valery Viktorovich Butin, was an entrepreneur who started a furniture manufacturing business in Barnaul. Butina has one sister named Marina and one niece on her mother’s side.

Education and Career of Maria Butina

Maria Butina graduated with honors at the age of 17 from Gymnasium Number 22, a school with an in-depth focus on English language learning.

She has always been active in public life and began her political career early. She studied political science and received a teaching degree from Altai State University. At the age of 19, she was elected to the public council of Altai Krai, the last election for the council in which voters could directly elect candidates.

Maria Valeryevna Butina : Business and Political Career

  • Enrolled in the Master of Arts in International Relations program at American University in Washington, D.C.
  • Worked as an assistant to Aleksandr Torshin, a Russian politician and former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia
  • Founded the Bridges Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes communication between Russia and the United States

Maria Butina was a small business owner ( House & Home LLC , a chain of furniture stores) when she was still an undergraduate in Siberia, Russia and hardly 21 years old. In 2011, Butina moved to Moscow and sold six of her seven furniture stores to finance a new advertising agency.

Butina’s first experience with guns was at a young age, when she accompanied her father on hunting trips in the Altai mountains. Shooting bears and wolves gave Butina a sense of power over life and death.

From 2005 to 2008 Butina participated in election campaigns for the Barnaul City Duma and Altai Krai Council of Deputies as a head of the field service. Butina also worked as a public relations manager for Eco Standart LLC from 2006 to 2007, was the executive director of the Barnaul-Capital Rotary Club from 2007 to 2009 .

In 2008, she was elected to the Altai-Krai Public Chamber on behalf of the Altai-Krai public youth organization, the Altai State University Students’ League.

In 2011, she founded the gun rights organization “Right to Bear Arms” and soon partnered with the NRA.

In 2011, after Maria Butina founded the gun rights organization Right to Bear Arms in Russias, she then began traveling back and forth to the United States, initially with Aleksandr Torshin, a Russian senator who had hired her as his special assistant that year. Torshin became the acting chairman of the Federation Council of Russia in December 2011. In 2012, Butina and Torshin lobbied the Russian Federation Council to expand gun rights. Butina resigned from her position as head of Right to Bear Arms in late 2014.

Russian Oligarch And Senator Aleksandr Torshin

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Butina worked as Torshin’s representative from 2014 to February 2017. Since August 2016, Maria Butina lived in the United States on a student visa. According to the publication, in 2018 she received a master’s degree from American University (American University) in international relations.

Arrest and Conviction

On July 15, 2018, Maria Butina was arrested in Washington, D.C. She was charged with acting as an agent of the Russian government in the United States without notifying the Attorney General, as required by law. She was also charged with conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, specifically by violating the law that requires foreign agents to register with the Department of Justice.

After her arrest, it was mistakenly reported that Butina had been charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). However, her attorney clarified that the only allegation against her was that she had failed to register under FARA.

Butina pleaded not guilty on July 18, 2018. She was ordered to be held in jail pending trial. She was also said to be cooperating with a federal fraud investigation in South Dakota. Butina was held in solitary confinement at the Alexandria Detention Center.

Maria Butina’s attorney said that she has been willing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but that Mueller’s office has not shown any interest in her cooperation. Mueller is not mentioned in the charges against Butina or in the press release about her case. Butina’s attorney also said that she testified before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Mariia Butina, a Russian national, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison after earlier pleading guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Butina, 30, a Russian citizen who had been residing in Washington D.C., pled guilty on Dec. 13, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  She was sentenced by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan.  Following her incarceration, she is to be deported to Russia.

According to the government’s evidence, from approximately 2015 to 2017, Butina acted as an agent of a Russian government official.  Under his direction, she provided key information about Americans who were in a position to influence United States politics and took steps to establish an unofficial line of communication between Russia and these Americans.  As described in the plea documents, Butina sought to do so for the benefit of the Russian Federation. She took these actions without providing the required notifications to the Attorney General that she was in fact acting as an agent of the Russian Federation.

Butina was arrested on July 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C., and has been in custody ever since.  Butina will get credit for the time she already has served.  The court also granted a government motion that led to a reduced sentence in the case.

Post Release

On October 25, 2019 Maria Butina who pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a clandestine foreign agent, was released into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Maria Butina was released from the Tallahassee Federal Correction Institution after having served more than 15 months behind bars, according to the US Federal Bureau of Prisons, and was immediately deported to Moscow.

Maria Butina, of Russia, was removed to Russia by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Maria Butina, of Russia, was removed to Russia by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Mariia Valeryevna Butina departed from Miami International Airport on a direct flight to Moscow at approximately 6 p.m.

Upon her return to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on October 26, Maria Butina told reporters that she was “very, very, very glad to be home.”

Maria Butina arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on October 26

She thanked everyone who had supported her, including Russian citizens who had written her letters, donated money, and helped her in other ways. She also said she was happy to see her family.

Butina then stood silently beside her father and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova while journalists photographed her holding a bouquet of flowers.

Her attorney, Bob Driscoll, said that U.S. immigration officials had accompanied Butina back to Russia.

Post-Release : The Return to Russia of Maria Butina

Less than two months after her return to Russia, Maria Butina got a job as the cohost of the “Beautiful Russia boo-boo-boo” YouTube channel as part of Russia Today’s network. The channel is known for its satirical and often absurdist take on Russian current events and culture. Butina was a charismatic and engaging host, and she quickly became popular with the channel’s viewers.

Butina’s job on the channel has been met with controversy, with some people criticizing her for promoting Russian propaganda. Butina herself was accused of being a Russian propagandist, and she was eventually fired from the channel in 2022. However, Butina has defended her work, saying that she is simply trying to tell the Russian story to the world.

Despite the controversy, Butina’s time on the “Beautiful Russia boo-boo-boo” channel was a memorable one. She showed herself to be a talented performer with a unique perspective on Russia.

Maria Butina, a Russian TV host and politician, interviewed jailed Russian political activist Alexei Navalny for the Russian government-funded news channel RT. During the interview, Butina mocked Navalny’s incarceration, claiming that his prison was nicer than the hotels in the region where she grew up. Navalny did not appear on camera for the interview.

In October 2021, Butina was given a seat in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. A local governor gave up his seat so that Butina could fill it. Critics allege that the seat was a gift for Butina’s loyalty to the Russian government, specifically for her attempt to discredit Navalny, who was in the middle of a hunger strike when she interviewed him.

In addition to her work on the channel, Butina has also written a memoir of her time in US prison and self-identifies as a prison activist. She has spoken out about the conditions in US prisons and has advocated for reforms.

US Sanctions Maria Butina

U.S. Treasury Sanctioned Maria Butina on March 24, 2022. Maria Valeryevna Butina is a Member of State Duma, hence she got listed at number 183 along with 328 members of the Russian State Duma.

OFCA Official Statement reads ” Russian Duma members supported the Kremlin’s efforts to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including through treaties recognizing the self-proclaimed independence of areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia’s proxies, known as the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR). Today’s action follows OFAC’s March 11, 2022 designation of 12 members of the Russian State Duma who appealed to President Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the DNR and LNR.

In addition to designating 328 members of the State Duma today ( March 24, 2022 ) , OFAC is also designating the State Duma itself as an entity. Today’s actions are being taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024, which authorizes sanctions against Russia for its harmful foreign activities, including violating core principles of international law, such as respect for the territorial integrity of other states. OFAC’s actions complement the ongoing efforts of our allies and partners to hold accountable all those responsible for furthering this unconscionable war of choice against Ukraine and its people.

Maria Butina is under sanctions from European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Ukraine, Switzerland, France, USA, Canada and Great Britain.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris - The Digital Bloodhound Alexander isn't your typical investigative journalist. He thrives in the digital world, scouring the web for hidden connections and leaked documents. An expert data analyst and coder, he builds intricate digital trails to expose fraud, cybercrime, and government overreach. Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button