Russian gun-rights activist Maria Butina was released from prison Friday and is set to be deported back to Russia.
Butina was arrested in July 2018 and was charged with conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent. She entered a plea deal that December and received an 18-month sentence, credited with time served.
Butina organized an NRA delegation visit to Russia in 2015 on behalf of her own gun rights organization. She visited the U.S. for NRA events before moving there in 2016 on a student visa to attend American University in Washington DC.
The allegation against Butina was that she infiltrated Republican circles on behalf of the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. Ultimately these claims were unfounded, and she was charged for simply failing to fill out a form to register herself as a foreign agent with the US government.
As far as the deportation process goes, a Russian diplomat said there are no “formal obstacles to her return.” However, the diplomat did warn that the deportation process can be difficult, mainly due to the deportation center’s remote location and possible long wait times for a flight to Russia.
Butina’s lawyer told Sputnik news agency that she could arrive in Moscow as early as Saturday, October 26th, although he did not have any flight information.
Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.