A Russian spy is on her way home. After securing an early release for good behavior, serving 15 months of an 18-month sentence, Maria Butina is being escorted back Moscow. She will be barred from entering the United States for a decade.
Her case has always been an odd one as espionage and conspiracy charges do not normally yield such a light sentence. But it was clear from the beginning most of the evidence they had against her was circumstantial and she was not allowed to engage in anything substantial. She was arrested while still in the process of securing powerful connections in the United States. Some have questioned the decision to arrest her so early, as catching her in the act of espionage or using her to share false intelligence could have been better.
At the end of the day, Maria Butina is a minor spy who did minor things, but because of tensions between the United States and Russia, it’s a bigger story than it should be. At least the story is over… for now.
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