Moscow – A woman who was sentenced to prison for spying for Russia returned to her homeland on Saturday, deported by the United States, after serving her sentence of captivity.
Maria Butina, an activist for the rights to bear arms and who sought to infiltrate the conservative political groups of the United States and promote the interests of Russia at the time that Donald Trump rose to power, left a low-level prison on Friday. Florida security. He had been detained since his arrest in July 2018.
"I am very, very, very happy to be back at home. I am very grateful to everyone who supported me, to all the Russian citizens who helped me, wrote letters and donated money for my defense," she said.RELATED
In December, the former graduate student pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent for Russia. Butina admitted that she and a former Russian lawmaker worked to take advantage of contacts in the National Rifle Association to seek indirect channels with the American right.
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, who also met with Butina at the airport, said the 30-year-old woman was a victim of deep-seated prejudices against Russia.
"Unfortunately, this is what started the previous administration of the United States: trying to destroy a bilateral relationship," said Maria Zakharova.
Since Trump's election, Russian officials have consistently blamed the problematic relations to the so-called "Russophobia" inherited from the government of President Barack Obama.
"He really didn't hurt anyone. He is just a girl, he is just a young woman. He tried to invest in his youth, if they want to see him, in his gift, his talent, in personal contacts," Zakharova said.
Butina's case was heavily criticized in Russia and the Foreign Ministry noted his position of support for the spy by using his face as the avatar on his Facebook page. After his return, the ministry changed the avatar to the Russian symbol of the double-headed eagle.