Maria Butina Arrest Story: The Tale Intensifies
Following last week’s story about a 29-year-old Russian woman getting arrested for allegedly being an unregistered Russian spy in Washington DC, more details have been unearthed in this highly publicized case. As has been revealed, Ms Butina had a wider array of high-level contacts in the capital than was previously known or revealed.
According to reports, Ms Butina had meetings in 2015 with a visiting Russian official and two senior officials at the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury Department. Center for the National Interest, a Washington foreign policy think tank has revealed that these meetings were between Alexander Torshin, the then Russian Central Bank deputy governor, Stanley Fischer, Fed vice chairman at the time, and Nathan Sheets, then Treasury undersecretary for international affairs. This think tank has often advocated Pro-Russia views in the past.
Ms Butina travelled to the United States with Mr Torshin to take part in two separate meetings with the aforementioned public figures when former Democratic President Barack Obama was in office. These meetings came to light after Reuters discovered reports documented by said think tank related to their Russia-related activities from 2013 to 2015. Mr Fischer, in an email to Reuters, roughly recalled- without providing details- that the conversation in the meeting was about “the state of the Russian economy”. Ms Butina was employed as an interpreter by Mr.Torshin, who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, at various Washington events. Federal prosecutors have accused Ms Butinaof conspiring with two US citizens and a top Russian official to influence US policy towards Russia and infiltrating a gun rights group believed to be the National Rifle Association (NRA).
A judge on Wednesday ordered Ms.Butina jailed until her trial. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as a foreign agent for Russia.
Neha Hardikar is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti