Maria Butina was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to infiltrate American politics. The Russian citizen was accused of attempting to penetrate the NRA and other conservative leaning groups.
The Russian government, including President Vladimir Putin, is reportedly enraged by Butina’s prison sentence. To that end, the Kremlin has released a document that promises to “avenge” Butina’s arrest.
Russian lawmakers requested, “foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to draw up a so-called ‘Butina list’ of U.S. officials involved in ‘violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation.”
These lawmakers write, “The threat of entering the ‘Butina’s List’ should over time focus the minds of foreign officials used to the oppression of Russians, which goes virtually unpunished, and prevent the violation of the rights of our compatriots abroad.”
Butina’s father, Valery, supports the lawmakers idea. He says of his daughter, “Her sentence was prejudged, as it is with any Russian citizen. Any other foreigner would not have got such a term and would have only been given an administrative penalty. And Masha was given an unfair sentence.”
Putin has also slammed Butina’s treatment. He claims, “They arrested her and put the girl in jail. But there was nothing on her. So in order not to look totally stupid they gave her, fixed her up, with an 18-month sentence to show that she was guilty of something.”
Butina’s face is currently being used as the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Twitter avatar. The Ministry is also pushing people to use the hashtag, #freemariabutina.