Support The Moscow Times!

Admitted Russian Agent Maria Butina's First Comments Following Release

RT / Youtube / Screenshot

Russian national Maria Butina arrived in Moscow on Saturday after serving 18 months in American prison after admitting to working as a Russian agent. 

Butina pleaded guilty in December last year to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia by infiltrating a gun rights group and influencing U.S. conservative activists and Republicans. 

Here’s a look at what Butina has said of her experience to state-backed media since returning home:

To the state-backed RT news channel:

— "What happened to me definitely shows that America is losing its justice system. It actually has been lost, not just for me as a Russian but for the average American too."

— "I didn’t have any secrets, I was just a student believing in peacebuilding between the two countries."

— "The United States says that there’s all this gender equality going on, but look — if I were not the way I look like, if I were not a woman, there would be no sex story. This is so sad because this is sexism."

— "I did plea to [being] a foreign agent because I was in solitary confinement and facing 15 years knowing that statistically, Americans plea in more than 90% of cases. Why do they do that? Because if you go to trial, you’re going to lose that trial. Especially me, a Russian, on trial in Washington, D.C., in the middle of anti-Russian hysteria? I would have gotten all 15 years. My choice was obvious." 

— "I will still believe that peace between the United States and Russia is possible, because it will be based on civil diplomacy, not on the relationships of the governments. And I do believe there are wonderful Americans. I had wonderful attorneys and I have great friends who have supported me through all this time." 

— "I will be talking about the conditions of my imprisonment because a country should be measured on how it treats its prisoners. They treat their prisoners very bad, much worse [than] me, but if I never talk about this it means I betrayed all these girls who asked me to be their voice."

In an interview with pro-Kremlin talk show host Vladimir Solovyov

— "Of course, I’ve never worked for him [Russian official Alexander Torshin], no one has paid me and never sent me anywhere. This is absurd."

— "When you move to America, there is one law that I have violated — you need to come there and disown Russia, say that it was bad there, but praise what you see here. I never did this because I love my country, but I respect America."

— "The justice system in America is absent; it’s called selective justice. … And this is not about us, this is about them."

— "The judge at the trial said, “It took me five minutes to figure out that there is absolutely no basis in your invented story."

— "I think that this thing isn’t about me personally, and not even about Russia. It’s an inner conflict between Republicans and Democrats."

Read more

The need for honest and objective information on Russia is more relevant now than ever before!

To keep our newsroom in Moscow running, we need your support.