Butina: Not A Spy, Not Even An Agent. As I Said Hours After Her Arrest.

Fake Russian gun rights organization that doesn’t exist because Russians are too oppressed by Putler to have any independent opinions of their own.

A couple of days ago, The New Republic published an astoundingly well-researched longread by James Bamford about the Butina saga.

An anonymous commenter has summarized its key points:

-Mueller wasn’t interested in Butina; DC prosecutors picked up the case after he declined to pursue it
-She was raided by the FBI once before her arrest; they found nothing
-Claims that she was under heavy FSB surveillance while in Russia because Putin distrusts activists and dislikes guns
-During the deterioration in US-Russian relations due to Ukraine Kremlin officials were talking about how Butina could be actively be shut down (apparently disclosed in a leak of hacked emails)
-At one point FSB offered her a job (a note in her boyfriend’s home makes mention of this), but he says she wasn’t interested
-She had a benefactor who paid her tuition to grad school, an American descendant of the Rockefeller family and longtime friend of Torshin’s; Torshin himself didn’t pay
-The benefactor is a longtime agitator for improved US-Russian relations (hence his relationship with Torshin, whom he calls a “Gorbi guy” and fairly pro-American)
-There was a guy who had a national security role in Trump’s campaign who tried to strike up a relationship with Butina, but she mostly ignored him (the author cites this as evidence that she wasn’t actually a real spy, who would have presumably jumped at the opportunity to cultivate that level of access)
-The FBI agents who oversaw the investigation were a couple of yokels, one a former lab tech from Tennessee and the other a former TV anchor from Mississippi, who had 0 experience with espionage or organized crime investigations (the investigation into Torshin was due to alleged mafia links)

On the plus side, this is good news for Butina. While the activism from Right To Bear Arms on behalf of its former founder, as well as the commendable support of the Russian Foreign Ministry (they still have a “Free Butina!” avatar on their Twitter accounts – an act that Guardianista journalist Carole Cadwalladr described as “war”), was all well and good, we must also thank prosecutorial incompetence as well as the talent of Butina’s lawyers. Given what we know about the case, at this point in time, anything more than an extremely light sentence equivalent to time already served – at this point, more than half a year, much of it in solitary confinement – would be overkill and complete legal nihilism. I assume the Russiagate zealots haven’t yet undermined the rule of law in the US to that extent. I assume that after this is over, Butina will be deported to Russia and will resume her gun rights activism, though it may well become less Americanophile flavored.

On the negative side, this very article demonstrates the overawning strength of Russiagate conspiracy theory. Not just with respect to the legalistic travesties it describes, but in the fact of its own regrettably pathetic reach. It generated more than 5 comments on just one subreddit, and even the /r/gunpolitics discussion was brigaded into negative karma by an SJW subreddit. Most “successful” RT of the article was from an NPC NBC journalist, with his “killer” argument against it constituting: “Wow.” [Like, I can’t even?]. Consequently, while 95% of Americans who have heard of the Butina Affair associate her with their Red Sparrow fantasies, one of the few articles that actually pieces near everything together languishes unread.

But it is especially depressing because this case was a blatant fraud from the very beginning. Despite not having had any access or communications with any of the principal players, I was able to construct a remarkably similar narrative just hours after Butina’s arrest on July 16, 2018: US Arrests Russia’s Foremost 2nd Amendment Activist. Bamford’s article has filled in many puzzling gaps, and in many cases even made my initial arguments stronger. But this is something that virtually no MSM journalist investigated, except in those few cases where they were prompted into doing so by the prosecutors admitting their blunders themselves. Nonetheless, it is you who is being a hateful troll by telling them to learn to code.

So let’s do a close read of James Bamford’s article:

Yet a close examination of Butina’s case suggests that it is not so. Butina is simply an idealistic young Russian, born in the last days of the Soviet Union, raised in the new world of capitalism, and hoping to contribute to a better understanding between two countries while pursuing a career in international relations. Fluent in English and interested in expanding gun rights in Russia, she met with Americans in Moscow and on frequent trips to the United States, forging ties with members of the National Rifle Association, important figures within the conservative movement, and aspiring politicians. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to do what I could, as an unpaid private citizen, not a government employee, to help bring our two countries together,” she told me.

The government’s case against Butina is extremely flimsy and appears to have been driven largely by a desire for publicity. In fact, federal prosecutors were forced to retract the most attention-grabbing allegation in the case—that Butina used sex to gain access and influence. That Butina’s prosecution was launched by the National Security Section of the District of Columbia federal prosecutor’s office, led by Gregg Maisel, is telling in itself: According to a source close to the Mueller investigation, the special counsel’s office had declined to pursue the case, even though it would have clearly fit under its mandate.

The idea that Butina’s interest in guns and gun rights rights was peripheral, if not entirely made up, would have been rendered implausible by a quick search of the Russian Internet, her Facebook photos, or even an old article by Julia Ioffe.

Yet nobody in the “free and independent” Western MSM was particularly rushing to do that very elementary research.

“Look, I imagined I could be in prison in Russia. I could never imagine I could go to jail in the United States. Because of politics?” Butina told me over the phone a few weeks after she was taken into federal custody. It was one of a series of exclusive interviews I conducted with Butina, Erickson, and other prominent figures involved in the case, none of whom have spoken previously to the media. “I didn’t know it became a crime to have good relations with Russia—now it’s a crime,” she told me earlier. “They hate me in Russia, because they think I’m an American spy. And here they think I’m a Russian spy.”

Butina’s uneasy relations with the Russian authorities is something that even I managed to discover while rapidly churning out a 3,000 word article hours after her arrest by, erm… checking out her blog:

It is a most hilarious irony that Maria Butina’s very last post on her defunct Russophone LiveJournal blog was a complaint that one of her blog posts had gotten blocked by Russian state censorship agency Roskomnadzor for “containing information that is forbidden in the Russian Federation.” In that post, which dates to June 5, 2018, she also announced that she was closing her blog, since she considered further censorship inevitable.

Naturally, there were few if any mainstream Western journalists who ever bothered informing you of this rather important context.

As well as the rather relevant cultural/political background: That Russian authorities have a very skeptical attitude to gun freedoms, by dint of their Soviet legacy.

At the time, the NRA was also looking to expand internationally, and Butina was surprised at how similar their outlooks were. “They were talking about guns in exactly the same way we do,” she said. “That formed my idea that if we ever want to build a truthful friendship between the U.S. and Russia … it should be people based, not leaders based.”

As I pointed out after my meeting with the US Consul General at the World Russia Forum 2018, the Russiagate hysteria has made “citizen diplomacy” between Russia and the US pretty much impossible. Russians run the risk of getting arrested and imprisoned in solitary confinement just for talking with anybody in a position of power in the US. Americans run the risk of having their reputations ruined by the frenzied media, or even being subjected to politicized investigations themselves. (Do you really think that anyone would had dug into Erickson’s past without the Butina Affair?).

These are not just my suppositions, Russian liberal journalist Leonid Bershidsky says precisely the same thing:

But it does send a message to Americans that any Russian they meet could be a Kremlin agent. It’s easier not to take part in any such meetings than to ask whether their Russian counterpart has registered as a foreign lobbyist and filed the necessary paperwork with the attorney general. Perhaps that was the whole point of Butina’s optional prosecution — to let it be known that, after what the U.S. intelligence community considers massive Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, no unofficial back channels to Russia will be tolerated.

If sending this message was indeed the point of building a case against Butina, it raises questions of how the American justice system is applied to citizens of countries with whom the U.S. is at odds.

Incidentally, I also pointed out in my article that Right to Bear Arms also built ties with European gun rights organizations, and suggested journalists cite it as yet more evidence of Putler’s meddling in the Western democracies. Unfortunately, they didn’t take the bait. I suppose it was more trouble than it was worth. Mentioning this would have undermined the narrative that Right to Bear Arms was a fake or largely fake organization specifically constructed to enable Butina’s influence mission against the NRA.

Back home in Moscow, the Russian government was making note of her new friendships. The previous month, the United States and Russia had clashed over the invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, and the United States had levied sanctions against Russia. [AK: Former NRA President] Keene adopted the prevailing attitude of the government, and wrote an editorial in The Washington Times denouncing “Russia’s aggression.”

Shortly after Butina posted the photo of her and Keene at NRA headquarters, Marika Korotaeva, a Kremlin official and the former head of the Department for Internal Policy at Putin’s presidential office, got in touch with her boss, Timur Prokopenko. “Hey. Help please,” she wrote. “Butina … is now posting pictures with the president of the National Rifle Association at the main office in Virginia. Against the backdrop of statements about the supply of arms to Ukraine, I ask your help…. We have to shut her down completely.” (The text was part of a large batch of messages made public by a group of Russian hackers who had targeted Prokopenko.)

This was news to me – so there were actual discussions amongst employees of the Russian government that their putative “spy” and/or “agent” needed to be Shut Down!? LOL.

Incidentally, just for the record, I want to make it clear that Butina is ultimately a Russian patriot and does not share the mainstream American position on Russia and the Ukraine. Indeed, this is one reason – in addition to their default slavish Americanophilia – that a few of the most fanatical Russian liberals actually welcomed and applauded her arrest.

One of the more colorful examples I came across is this jeremiad by Karina Orlova, a US-based contributor to Echo of Moscow and columnist at The American Interest.

What a lovely detail. So it turns out that Maria Butina politically promoted Russian gun laws in Crimea, right after its annexation. Was physically there, meeting the people.

Then she participated in several meetings in support of the Russian war in the Donbass (it was called Project Novorossiya).

Only just on account of this this fucking cunt needs to be thrown in jail as a sponsor of terrorism.

My only regret is that American prisons are more comfortable, because Maria Butina deserves a real Russian patriotic penal colony.

Berezovsky’s one-time helper in London, Andrey Sidelnikov, was first to chime in with his support.

Come to think of it, the range of enemies she has made is rather impressive. American #Resistance, the most extremist, neo-Bolshevik Russian liberals, and Russian bureaucrat-bug(wo)men.

As U.S. prosecutors later noted, during a search of Erickson’s apartment in South Dakota, FBI agents discovered a handwritten note: “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?” To U.S. authorities, this was evidence that Butina had ties to the Russian intelligence service. According to Erickson, however, the opposite was true. Butina had no interest in working for the FSB, he told me, adding that he was the one who had written the note before one of Butina’s trips to Moscow. He was simply helping her prepare for the inevitable questioning she would face back home. “A question they always asked is, ‘Perhaps you’d like to make a more formal relationship,’” Erickson said. “How do you answer that to say ‘no’ in such a way that it doesn’t get you in trouble?”

Ha! So this is how that particular narrative collapses.

The friend was George D. O’Neill Jr., 68, great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and an heir to the Rockefeller fortune. He and Erickson had known each other since the early 1990s, when Erickson was running Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign. In 2010, O’Neill and his father sponsored a joint U.S.-Russia conference in Moscow. “I met Torshin long before I met Maria,” O’Neill told me. “He was a Gorbi guy—a Gorbachev person—and that’s where this impulse to work with America came from. That’s what he told me.” …

As Butina was looking into master’s degree programs in the United States, O’Neill offered to assist with her finances. The help was critical, since her parents in Siberia could not afford the expense. Torshin, her supposed handler, never offered to help pay her two-year tuition. Instead, it was O’Neill, and her boyfriend Erickson, who gave her the money to enroll at American University’s Graduate School of International Service. Unlike Scott Walker, whom Butina met in passing, and whom she would later be accused of attempting to influence, her real ties were to men like Erickson and O’Neill, who had a few connections in Washington but in reality had little to no power. …

So the guy actually funding Butina’s studies in the US was an AMERICAN oligarch, while she in turn helped organize his dinner events.

This would make the connection between Butina and Torshin (“Russia”) even more tentative than I had initially assumed!

In April 2016, as the political season was heating up in the United States, Butina and Torshin also discussed the possibility of Torshin attending the NRA convention the following month, according to private Twitter messages the FBI recovered from Butina’s computer. Torshin wasn’t sure he could go, because the timing of the conference conflicted with his duties at the Central Bank of Russia. “I hope your female boss will understand,” Butina wrote to Torshin on April 28. “This is an important moment for the future of our country.”

These were the naïve hopes of a grad student, not the plotting of a Kremlin operative, as the U.S. government alleged. Had Butina been a spy and Torshin her handler, she surely would have been ordered to begin cultivating a real person of influence—there were hundreds out there—and not an idealistic outsider like O’Neill. Yet U.S. authorities cited all these messages as evidence that she was working on behalf of the Russian government.

Many similar anecdotes are recounted in the rest of the article.

The nature of this relationship is important to consider in the context of what came later. To a Kremlin-directed agent of influence, as Butina supposedly is, Gordon would seem to have been the perfect catch: a senior military officer with high-level Pentagon connections, a widely quoted Washington insider, and, most important, a key national security link to Trump on the eve of the election. Yet instead of recruiting him, Butina dismissed him, because her interest was helping O’Neill with his dinners, not Moscow with its spying. Equally strange for a supposed secret agent, she never bothered to tell Torshin about Gordon, something that would normally get both the secret agent and the handler a nice Kremlin promotion.

As I have said on previous occasions, if Butina was a spy – she was one of the most incompetent ones to have ever walked the planet.

Nonetheless, ridiculous as this situation is, even this latest revelation does not fully clear her of charges that she was acting as an unregistered foreign agent (charges which, if true, would make her one of the most blatant and incompetent foreign agents in espionage history, who managed to get herself reported to the authorities for her by her fellow students at the American University on account of her excessive Russophilia and Putinophilia).

Now, she straight up confirms that, and in approximately the same language:

“If I’m a spy,” she added, “I’m the worst spy you could imagine.”

The article has plenty of anecdotes about how Butina’s behavior was entirely incompatible with espionage:

“Maria shows up with Paul Erickson,” said a lawyer who attended but asked that his name not be used, “and George introduced both of them to us.” He added that Butina told everyone that she was a close friend and associate of Torshin, and that they had known each other for years. “If this woman’s a spy, then getting up and disclosing this information is not the way you would do it,” he said.

Hence the FBI’s difficulties with finding anything with which to charge Butina – “money laundering, passing cash to the Trump campaign, violating Russian sanctions” – despite the resources dedicated to the investigation. The author even says that a “knowledgeable source” told him that his meetings with Butina were physically monitored “at a cost of perhaps $1 million or more.”

Not surprisingly, the end result was… weak:

According to the FBI’s affidavit, Butina’s low-level networking with conservative activists and politicians, her efforts to help O’Neill with his dinners, and even her idealistic thoughts about bringing the two countries closer—the affidavit cites a statement Butina made to Torshin that, by inviting NRA officials to Moscow, “maybe … you have prevented a conflict between two great nations”—were part of a sinister, anti-American plot. This sort of insinuation and assumption is, essentially, the beginning and the end of the case against Maria Butina. …

Helson also described a search of Butina’s computer, during which he discovered another four-year-old conversation, this time with Torshin, in which they discussed an article Butina had published in The National Interest calling for improved U.S.-Russia relations. “BUTINA asked the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL to look at the article,” the affidavit states, “and the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL said it was very good.” She sent him an article to read. Torshin read it and liked it. Therefore, Butina is a spy. This is the quality of the FBI’s case.

… and revolved around the usual, fevered femme fatale fantasies around Russian redheads:

Prosecutors, faced with a humdrum case involving a grad student, friendship dinners, and little evidence, landed on the idea of sex, with Butina as the Kremlin’s Red Sparrow. “They were interested in sex,” one of the witnesses interviewed by the FBI told me. They “wanted to know if George [O’Neill] had sex with Maria. They couldn’t establish that, but that’s what they wanted.” O’Neill, who’s married with five children, denied the allegation that he’d had an affair with Butina. “That’s ridiculous,” he told me. “Maybe these guys have been watching too much TV.”

The FBI also seemed convinced, the witness said, that Paul Erickson had been seduced as part of what they called Butina’s “honeypot thing.” At Butina’s arraignment, prosecutor Erik Kenerson argued that Butina posed a flight risk, because her relationship with Erickson was “duplicitous” and “simply a necessary aspect of her activities.” His evidence for this claim was that Butina had occasionally complained about Erickson, and also that she had offered another person sex “in exchange for a position within a special interest organization.”

The claim, however, was a false and deliberate “sexist smear,” Butina’s lawyers argued. What the government refused to reveal was that the basis for the accusation that she exchanged sex for access was a three-year-old joke in a text to a longtime friend, a Russian public relations employee at the Right to Bear Arms. Humorously complaining about taking her car for an annual inspection, he wrote, “I don’t know what you owe me for this insurance they put me through the ringer.” Facetiously, Butina replied, “Sex. Thank you very much. I have nothing else at all. Not a nickel to my name.” The friend then wrote back in the same humorous vein that sex with Butina did not interest him. Butina was also a longtime friend of the colleague’s wife and child. Butina’s lawyers pointed out that prosecutors had “deleted sentences, misquoting her messages; truncated conversations, taking them out of context; replaced emoticons with brackets, twisting tone; and mistranslated Russian communications, altering their meaning.”

Yet the prosecution’s suggestion that Butina traded sex for influence worked very well as a publicity tactic. “Who Is Maria Butina? Accused Russian Spy Allegedly Offered Sex for Power,” read the headline in USA Today. CNN carried the breaking news banner, “The Russian Accused of Using Sex, Lies, and Guns to Infiltrate U.S. Politics.” Within days, a simple Google search using the phrase “Maria Butina” and “sex” produced more than 300,000 hits, and she became the butt of jokes on shows like Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. …

“They manipulated the evidence,” was the opinion of a former assistant U.S. attorney familiar with the Washington, D.C., office. It was a place he had spent many years prosecuting cases. “The government is basically calling her a whore in a public filing…. I think it was an attempt to influence media coverage.” He added, “This seems like somebody panicked, they moved too early, now they’re trying to figure out what to do.”

At the end of my original article, written immediately after her arrest, I suggested that the Occam’s Razor explanation of Butina’s escapes boiled down to the following points:

(1) Maria Butina is a gal who loves money, politics, and guns.

(2) She was settling down in the US, because at least the guns and politics part (including conservative politics) are far easier and more fun to pursue in America than in Russia.

(3) Since she is presumably still a Russian patriot, a Putin supporter, and an Americanophile, she would have naturally loved for the US and Russia to get along.

Thinking ambitiously, this might have also held out the prospect of an extension of American soft power – that is, what she would see as its wholesome, conservative element – into Russian politics. If this scenario had panned out, she might even have become… an “American agent” in Russia.

(4) Trump was the only Presidential candidate talking of improving relations with Russia – and he was a honest to goodness nationalist to boot!

(5) And her trump card into American politics? Her “Kremlin Connection.” Even though Torshin is nowhere near Putin’s inner circle.

Unfortunately, there was also a sixth part that she failed to account for:

(6) The US is also substantially run by gray bureaucrats, spies, and policemen – the Deep State – and they need to keep the Russiagate narrative going at any cost, since they have invested so much into it.

Consequently, I am pretty sure that Maria Butina is now regretting playing her trump card very much, as opposed to getting the hell out of dodge as soon as Trump was elected.

I feel that I have been vindicated on pretty much all points. If anything, I may have overstated the part Torshin played in this, with Maria Butina basically just piggybacking off him to launch her own network of American sponsors. Conversely, in fairness, I also blamed Mueller too much. He, at least, was smart enough to wash his hands off the affair at the earliest stage, leaving it to a couple of FBI agents – one of them a former local news reporter – who apparently had no experience with Russia or counterintelligence.

One last point I haven’t made, and have seen few other people make, is that relative to the (very few) previous cases of recent US prosecutions under FARA, Butina’s indiscretions were trifling. For instance, in United States v. Samir A. Vincent, the accused was found guilty of acceptions millions of dollars from Saddam Hussein to lobby for the removal of Iraq sanctions (and he had serious contacts, all the way up to former President Carter). His eventual punishment was a fine of $300,000 and community service. The very latest case concerned Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, a pro-Pakistani lobbyist who also received millions of dollars and had high political contacts, until the US clamped down when relations with Pakistan soured following the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden. He was initially sentenced to two years in jail, which was later reduced to one year and four months. However, his crimes also included tax evasion.

Of course this doesn’t apply to all countries. For instance, AIPAC does not have to register as a foreign agent, even though the influence it exerts exceeds Russia’s by many orders of magnitude. It is so far-reaching that it manages to get aspects of the US Constitution annulled (e.g. progressive criminalization of BDS), and forces American lawmakers into groveling apologies when they so much as point out this fact.

Consequently, if prosecutions under FARA can be considered to be a gauge of American official attitudes, we may consider that the US is more hostile to Putin’s Russia than to Saddam-era Iraq or the country that sheltered a terrorist who killed 3,000 of its citizens.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Only just on account of this this fucking cunt needs to be thrown in jail as a sponsor of terrorism.

    My only regret is that American prisons are more comfortable, because Maria Butina deserves a real Russian patriotic penal colony.

    Oh the outrage in some circles if Karina Orlova was called a douche.

    AK: Thanks for the correction.

  2. AquariusAnon says

    Given these developments, I wonder how will US-Russian relations bottom out. The current “reprieve”, or equilibrium, in US-Russia relations will last as long as the Trump administration.

    What I’m worried about is what Trump’s successor, a non-white Democrat like Kamala Harris or another puppet they roll out having 100% chance of winning, will be like.

    What’s clear is that the current sanctions will eventually be raised to a full economic embargo/blockade like Cuba or Iran has been experiencing, a unilateral complete visa/travel ban on both sides along with a complete diplomatic severance and shutting down of embassies, and designation as a State Sponsor of Terror. I expect all Russians with US visas and even green cards to be revoked and deported, and Russian-American citizens to be heavily scrutinized. And any people-to-people interactions between US and Russia to be strictly prohibited.

    Perhaps even those from third countries or US citizens with Russian visas or passport stamps pulled aside for secondary screening or denied the right to ESTA just like Iran passport stamps nowadays.

    Designating Russia as a hostile enemy state (worse, because unlike Iran and Cuba who both have/had the same designations, there was never genocidal-like hatred towards their people, which is what will happen with attitudes towards Russia) will go hand in hand, if not cause, the upcoming massive global economic shocks that will turn the US into a new nation, the American Empire, with a Stalin-era USSR-like effect on the rest of the world.

    Neoliberalism.txt will be formalized to force down people’s throats and transform swaths of Europe into an irreversible “utopia” of some sort. Instead of the “bourgeois”, this time it will be “traditional white/European culture”

  3. Swedish Family says

    We are witness to nothing less than the full breakdown of American public discourse. Have a look at this lunatic’s Twitter feed (the highest ranked commenter to that NBC reporter’s tweet) and recall that his mad ravings are followed by 181,000 people.


    These are truly mind-blowing levels of idiocracy.

    Luckily, the true running of a state is better explained by Elite theory.

  4. Dacian Soros says

    Every once in a while, I get into an online debate with an American. For example, I keep reminding them that the power to bring Romanian into EU and NATO were delegated to the parliament, through a constitutional rewriting that passed only through fraud, as recognized on the second day of the referendum by the future president and the future PM. This fraud, less ample in numbers than those operated by Ceausescu and Antonescu, had far outripped them, by converting Oltenia into a target for Russian nukes. The place where Turks and Austrians could not occupy got infested with Aegis rockets through corruption. Whenever I hear an American concerned about “democracy”, I get triggered.

    So I go on and on, with links, and phrases, and words. Americans reply in a single phrase: “you are Putin’s agent so everything you say is not interesting”. A few time I replied, like Butina, jokingly “yes, Putin gives me10 kopeiks every time I prove you are an imbecile.” To which they retort “so you admit to being a Russian agent”. This wore me out, probably 10 years ago. It takes only a few tens of exchanges to understand it. Now, I simply go “so, you are an American? look, Putin paid me to tell you your mum’s dick-sucking technique is shit”.

    This is how America works. 99% of Americans do not get sarcasm, even if you throw in visual aides. The other 1% are afraid to identify it as such when they can lose some well-paid jobs. Why would McCain start a lawful business, when he can stir shit, and live off taxpayer’s money, like his dad and granddad before him? Talking to Americans using logic is pointless, since they swore allegiance to the flag (and the Jewish-Christian God) in kindergarden, and didn’t learn much since.

    Therefore, Butina is an idiot for assuming things could be different. In addition to glee I showed when I first heard that she got locked in due to discussions with American “friends”, I now see that she is a well-rounded idiot. She failed to understand individuals, and she failed to understand groups.

    Nothing has changed since the Northern Expedition. The only friend of Russia is the cold weather. While reciprocal enmity is justifiable from its neighbors (who would want to be in Finland’s shoes?), FUKUS people hate Russia for Skinnerian reasons. Things work well when you praise the veterans, or blame the Russians; things go bad, if you praise the unions, or blame the Jews.

    So fuck the Russians bigly, lock Butina up, and clap another 10 minutes for Bibi. I call that “justice”, in contrast to whatever Stalin or Mao did. Akarlin, stop throwing your fits, you Putinist agent! (Unless you share Butina’s belief that you can magically convert Americans to another way of thinking.)

  5. Russia will eventually likely get Iran level sanctions. But it’s interesting how there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism for de-escalation. The top leaders are now not supposed to talk without tons of (American, at least) security officials being present. So no trust building is possible.

    It’s pretty interesting to see how the next serious crisis will be handled. How will they strike a deal?

  6. Dacian Soros says

    “Russian-American citizens to be heavily scrutinized” Oh no, all those people who chose America will be screwed by America. So sad! How soon?

  7. What’s ironic to me about this situation is that it seems like if Butina had been a spy her M.O. would have been pretty effective. Send a pretty young girl to America and have her use her sexuality to infiltrate the Republican political establishment via the soft underbelly of Christian and gun advocacy groups? If I were the head of the FSB and somebody came to me with this plan I would approve it and mark that person as an outside-the-box thinker deserving of promotion. Of course I would want the notional spy to practice proper tradecraft and maintain a low profile (cf. Butina), but still, it seems much better than the fairly lame tactics used by the Chapman group. Butina got access to some decently high level people without really trying very hard.

    This article makes a similar point, albeit in a hostile way


    Also some interesting stuff in there re: the use of foreign students in the US to gather intelligence. The author claims that China is very proactive about this (to the point of having students report on each other when they suspect one of their group has “gone native,” which is a claim I recall John Derbyshire making in an article several years ago as well).

  8. AquariusAnon says

    Iran-level “sanctions” isn’t really sanctions, but full-scale economic embargo, and could be considered economic warfare. Keep in mind diplomatic relations between US and Iran are totally severed, and there’s a 2-way travel ban in effect, which is exactly what I just described.

    Given the size and global integration of the Russian economy, such a declaration of economic warfare will amount to a global economic crash worse than 2008. The biggest shocks to the global economy will be from the sanctioning of Russian sovereign bonds, freezing of Russian assets in the West, and a near complete halt of Russian gas shipments to Europe. This will bring the world to the brink of WW3 to levels even higher than the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    There will be utter chaos in many parts of the global economy, especially in the natural resources and to a lesser extent, air transportation sectors. Expect the European economy to enter a deep recession alongside the Russian one.

    Europe will need instant, emergency shipments of US LNG and that winter will be one characterized by large scale load shedding and rationing of heat. Many European companies will take huge hits in profits, if not file bankruptcy, if forced to divest or at least drastically downscale Russian operations to avoid secondary sanctions.

    On the Russian side, Aeroflot will be by far the hardest hit company. They may have to park up to half of their fleet as their EU operations will be inevitably cut by more than half when this happens.

  9. Also Butina herself:

    -Staunchly pro-gun
    -Had taken a job with some cryptocurrency firm before she got arrested

    Is this an actual woman? She seems to have been invented by a committee of libertarian neckbeards.

  10. AquariusAnon says

    This will definitely happen.

    As American transforms from the main anti-Communist republic that’s a “shining city on the hill” to the American Empire, it will eventually be considered a dangerous “wild card” empire of aggression with a complete breakdown in the rule of law and marked by ideological hysteria, imposing its will on allies and unilaterally provoking its enemies.

    I expect this to occur in my lifetime.

    There’s a level of fanaticism and hysteria in the liberalism of millennials and Gen-Z that’s unseen in past generations of Americans.

  11. I think relations will continue to decline and the sanctions will be increased, overall the net impact will be Russia will move closer to China and there will be greater pressure within Russia to nationalise the elite, Russia’s elites today are still more pro-western then western elites are pro-Russian, a dangerous asymmetry which I think will decline over time, especially as more anti-western parties such as the LDPR gain power, the defeat of 3 United Russia candidates for gubernatorial elections in 2018 was a sign United Russia is losing its grip, I would not be surprised to see the LDPR and to a lesser extent the KPRF make large gains in the 2021 Duma elections and hence continue the trend of anti-western elites in Russia gaining more power over time.

  12. When will they start on Israeli-American Citizens?

  13. AquariusAnon says

    Right now, I wonder what “close Russian Chinese” relations will even look like.

    Seeing Russia as a vassalized state in the Sinosphere is not ideal, nor would China really want to take on such a project if Russia gets made too toxic by the US.

    Also, real, serious Chinese investment is still nonexistent in Russia. There’s a grand total of zero OBOR projects in operation or even planning in Russia. The only palpable Chinese influence in Russia coming from China seems to me consists of bus tours of 60+ year olds lead by a closed-loop tourist system that’s completely handled by Chinese citizens.

    There’s some Chinese companies selling their things in Russia, but its not a very important market for Chinese companies by any means. European, and even American, corporations are far more prominent in Russia.

    I really don’t see how Russians would for example start orienting their economy to China, replace English by Chinese as the default second language, having the elites’ children study abroad in China, parking their money in China, or listing their companies on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, as some examples.

  14. AquariusAnon says

    LDPR doesn’t seem like a party that will move Russia into China’s orbit and become its vassal or attack dog for dealing with the West.

    The LDPR definitely seems that it will take the Iran route geopolitically (as an anti-US “rogue state” beholden only to itself and opposing the US wherever it can, using whatever it can) once the US pushes Russia enough into a corner. Domestically it will probably end up becoming ethnic nationalist and re-introduce some socialism into the economy for stability, especially if Western companies divest and Russia gets locked out of global economic trade.

  15. AquariusAnon says

    Also Russian culture is far too tied to American culture for hostilities to continue. Russia has to ban all Hollywood entertainment and blaze its own American influence-free trail for pop culture.

    Too many people watch American movies and listen to American music in Russia. Even Russian music is essentially American pop/rap music translated to Russian. This is unworkable if Russia gets embargoed by America.

  16. AquariusAnon says

    Well she’s not very bangable for a Russian girl.

  17. If I saw Butina in real life I’d think she was attractive and would be interested in her. You don’t expect an intelligent politically-active internationalist/entrepreneur to be a beauty queen as well.

    Funny story from my own student days: an American professor of Russian was discussing his interactions with a visiting female professor at the school who was from Russia. He asked her how she was liking it so far and she said it was nice although there were many things about America she didn’t understand. He asked for an example. She responded that the girls at the school baffled her, the way they came to class in sweatpants and without makeup: how, she asked in amazement, were they ever going to find husbands?

  18. AquariusAnon says

    Different parts of the US have slightly different standards of dressing, but not a region can compare to anywhere in Russia, or even Western Europe.

    Overall, NYC, LA, and Miami are the best dressed due to sheer presence of foreigners.

    If we talk about middle class or above white Americans, from my experience:

    Sloppiest: Tied between the Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey) and the Rust Belt

    Best dressed: the South, especially South Carolina, Tennessee, and native southerners in Georgia

    The working class are obese and sloppy no matter where you go in the US.

  19. The fact of its own regrettably pathetic reach.

    It may not have had a reach in the way you understand it but the fact that it was published in the New Republic is a marker. Do you know what New Republic is? Among other things, it’s a farm team for the New York Times.

    That Russian authorities have a very skeptical attitude to gun freedoms, by dint of their Soviet legacy.

    This is a pan-European 20th century thing, not a Soviet thing.

    Managed to get herself reported to the authorities for her by her fellow students at the American University on account of her excessive Russophilia and Putinophilia

    How Russophile do you have to be to get reported to the FBI? Asking for a friend.

  20. Incidentally, considering Butina’s difficulties with the Russian authorities, it’s unlikely she was much of a Putinophile. I’m guessing she was just trying to argue against some of the utter nonsense about Putin and/or Russia that had already solidified into conventional wisdom.

  21. http://www.unz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/maria-butina-2.jpg

    “Armed citizen, support of government”
    LOL, how fake and gay “activism”.

    It would be so funny to see Butina and co. to push in Russia the NRA “we need guns to shoot the government” armchair Rambo bullshit, but even someone like her have too much brains left to try it.

  22. Check out the Ioffe article from several years ago (before the arrest). She more or less explicitly disavows such rhetoric:


    For her part, Butina denies that an armed populace would threaten the Putin regime. “The right to bear arms is given to you by your government and is a nice right to have,” she reasoned, “so taking some kind of anti-government stand … .” She trailed off to indicate that doing so would be the height of rashness. Plus, she pointed out, “pistols are the absolute worst weapon for toppling a government, let me tell you.”

    Advocating gun rights as a means to overthrow the government is the sort of rhetoric that can only work in America; anywhere else you get dismissed as a crank (if you are lucky) or end up in prison (if you are less lucky). Probably because we all understand that in America it’s just talk, as the same people who parrot this talk are the biggest pro-cop, pro-military boosters/bootlickers you can imagine.

  23. Why would banning Hollywood be any kind of prerequisite? (Hard to do wrt piracy, anyway). The domestic Russian film industry is competitive with Hollywood within Russia itself.

  24. Exactly. The NRA Che Guevara talk is just play and fantasy, and the hundreds of millions guns are nothing more than collector items and fetish props, but Russians still take ideas seriously.

    for example: last year there was anarchist suicide bomber in Archangelsk. Can you imagine any of the Antifa types blowing up themselves?


    If you started pushing in Russia “my cold dead hand” and “tree of liberty must be watered with blood” NRA memes, things could get very ugly very fast.

  25. This is a pan-European 20th century thing, not a Soviet thing.

    The Czechs are very happy with their guns.

    While many European nations tabooed guns to varying extents, and via various cultural pathways, in Russia specifically the mechanism involved was purely Soviet: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russias-gun-culture/

    In the US, it is young, SWPL liberals who support gun control the most. In Russia, it is young, urban SWPL types who most support gun rights, while the most Sovietized elements of the population (the elderly, most of all) oppose them.

  26. Correct, it’s difficult for a Russian to not be a Putinophile in the West at least to some extent without indulging in doublethink and ethnic masochism.

  27. Late Soviet Union tried hard to stop “idolatry of western culture”. The result was that everything coming from the West was actually worshipped. People collected even Western empty beer cans and displayed them like holy relics and got together to read and admire Western mail order catalogues.

    Remember that Western TV and radio was jammed, and VHS and audio casettes were the cutting edge of technology at this time. No computers, no internet, no satellite TV, no tiny memory cards that can hold gigabytes of data.

    Unless you go full Stalin and start sending millions to gulag for watching Disney cartoons, better to not even start with censorship of popular culture.

  28. American movies were shown in Soviet cinemas all the time under Stalin.

  29. AquariusAnon says

    The SWPL lifestyle in general should be considered treason once Russia actually receives an embargo.

    And how to “catch” the people listening to rap, eating burgers, and watching Game of the Thrones? This is where a Sino-Russian friendship can really come into play, by way of the social credit system. Eat a burger? 100 points off of your social credit. Eat a blini instead? Your social credit score is unaffected.

  30. AquariusAnon says

    What the Sovoks didn’t have was loyalty and social credit. Gulags never work as killing your citizens is extremely counterproductive, but actively discouraging them, and with consequences for doing so, for sidling up to your enemy’s culture is a required part of 21st century “warfare”.

  31. What the Sovoks didn’t have was loyalty

    Does modern RF have loyalty of its citizens?

    social credit

    Soviet Union was too technologically and organizationally backward, but East Germany had social credit of the time – most comprehensive surveillance and spying system, where everyone was watched, awesome achievement with 80’s technology.
    Did not mattered at all, the Trabant paradise fell in few hours once whe wall was opened.

  32. I think that’s just ineffective. A better approach is creating nationalistic rap “music” or whatever. E.g. rap itself is often black nationalist, so just changing it into Russian nationalism when the performer is Russian should be natural. It also doesn’t have to be very prominent, just a side message.

    Prohibiting something which people like doesn’t work well. Even Nazi Germany had to create popular dance music similar to “degenerate” jazz, because it was popular. Social credit works better with a more conformist population. I don’t think European totalitarians were ever successful at being that totalitarian.

  33. The SWPL lifestyle in general should be considered treason once Russia actually receives an embargo.

    So what’s the alternative? Idealizing chewing sunflower seeds and quaffing vodka?

    This is where a Sino-Russian friendship can really come into play, by way of the social credit system. Eat a burger? 100 points off of your social credit. Eat a blini instead? Your social credit score is unaffected.

    I can barely imagine anything more sovok.

    PS. You seem to have this strange idea that cultural affinity for some foreign products translates into geopolitical admiration and loyalty towards said country.

  34. The domestic Russian film industry is competitive with Hollywood within Russia itself.

    Definitely not. Russian cinema is catastrophically inferior to Hollywood, and absolutely everyone in Russia understands this. In recent years, the quality of films has improved somewhat, but still the gap is catastrophic. “competitive within Russia itself” can be said about literature, but not about cinema

  35. Hyperborean says

    A better approach is creating nationalistic rap “music” or whatever.

    Isn’t there a lot of nationalist or potential nationalist rap, rock, black metal etc. in Europe already? Obviously the most negrified elements would have to go, but I think the important part would be the general state promotion of nationalism in all genres.

    Also, this is already a thing.

    By “Sports and patriotic club Yaropolk” (personally, I don’t think this one was that good, there are better ones):


    I like this Ukrainian singer:


    Then there is this old ordinary Europop song about the virtues of Putin as a boyfriend:


  36. Melvin Purvis was from South Carolina. Unlike the Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI has never been an organisation of moneyed liberal sophisticates. If they want to get someone they do–by any means necessary.


    She knew what it was about. She probably should not have agreed to hand over her E-mails or testify. When the raid on her apartment came, how could she have not immediately realised that the Feds seriously thought she was a cunning spy? She is an Amanda Knox see no evil in her dream country type (without the excuse of being too stoned for realising what was closing in on her), and like Knox she made the fatal mistake of not immediately leaving for her home country after the obsessive interest in her activities made it obvious authorities were building a case against her. You cannot talk the police out of arresting you, and once they do ….

    All they need is an excuse to get you in a cell. Once that iron door bangs shut there is a feeling of panic even cops who are just there to see a prisoner get it. Anyone detained will start talking enough to give prosecutors something extra (Hiccup Girl got life without the possibility of parole on felony murder because she denied planing a killing to her mom during a jailhouse call). You’ll cop a plea to anything to get out as soon as possible. She gets to go home penniless, older, and probably depressed and fat.

  37. Hyperborean says
  38. A better translation would be: “An armed citizen is one of the foundations of the state. (The future of the country depends on you.)” So not necessarily supporting government.

  39. Hyperborean says

    The most impressive visuals, I would say, are from this one:


  40. Really, now. FBI agents are “a couple of yokels” because they were based in Tennessee and Mississippi? Where are you from – New Yawk City?

  41. PS. You seem to have this strange idea that cultural affinity for some foreign products translates into geopolitical admiration and loyalty towards said country.

    Depends on the product, drinking the Whiskey of ones enemy is one thing, enjoying their propaganda (((Hollywood))) seems like loyalty to me.

  42. One of the most popular, or even the most popular TV show in China was called “Rap of China.”. After the first season, they banned rap from TV. Then brought it back. Possibly for the money, but maybe because they thought it was better to have control over.

  43. for-the-record says

    OT: Has anyone else tried out yet the helpful new browser extension NewsGuard (conveniently available on Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari) which promises to “tell you if a news site is reliable—right in your browser”?


    Most sites (including UNZ) don’t have a rating yet (green thumb up or red shield with exclamation point) but those already negatively rated include:

    Drudge (“This website severely violates basic standards of credibility and transparency”)

    Breitbart (“This website fails to meet several standards of credibility and transparency”)

    RT (“This website severely violates basic standards of credibility and transparency”)

    Sputnik (“This website severely violates basic standards of credibility and transparency”)

    If you click on the NewsGuard icon and then on the blue “See the full Nutrition Label” (no joke), you get a page or more of the relevant crimes and other transgressions of the site in question, as here for Sputnik, for example.

  44. Hyperborean says

    Possibly for the money, but maybe because they thought it was better to have control over.

    Not much use banning the show if people are just going to listen to American explicit rap, hip hop, “Latino”, etc. music directly on the free QQ Music instead. I think half-measures will just prove ineffective while annoying people.

    I don’t remember if it was the same show, but I once saw a really absurd performance once, it was some hip hop-style clothes and hair African singing some Chinese commie-patriotic song.

  45. The site of a Russian state-owned international news agency. Sputnik does not reveal its ownership by the Russian government amd publishes false information meant to glorify Russia and disparage its rivals.

    Did Sputnik and RT stop showing Aeroflot commercials, because otherwise they are being ridiculous.

    Anyway, I went over to Radio Free Europe’s site and, yes, they technically state that they are a ‘private grandee’ funded from U.S. Congress through the “United States Agency for Global Media”, but one wouldn’t know from the way they pride themselves on ‘editorial independence’ and ‘muh free media’.

  46. Credit system may work for Chinese, I don’t know. But with Russians and other non-Germanic Europeans you will quickly get a large popular subculture where having the lowest possible score would be considered a badge of honor.

  47. While many European nations tabooed guns to varying extents, and via various cultural pathways, in Russia specifically the mechanism involved was purely Soviet

    In the USSR the mechanism was indeed Soviet; what else could it be? In France it was French, in UK British, etc. Everyone ended up in the same place. Which tells us the the real deep reason for gun restriction has nothing to do with hated Commies.

    In the US, it is young, SWPL liberals who support gun control the most. In Russia, it is young, urban SWPL types who most support gun rights, while the most Sovietized elements of the population (the elderly, most of all) oppose them.

    In both countries, conservative core supports (as it always does by definition) traditional policies.

    Plenty of (male) young urban SWPL in the US like guns. Shooting guns is fun. I’ve seen quite a few SWPL types on gun ranges, even in mixed company (incidentally, gun range is a good idea for a date.) There is no need for a specifically SWPL pro-gun movement in the US; they piggyback on the proles.

  48. It’s disturbing how popular rap seems to be in China, even if it is just a subculture. There does seem to be a distinct connection to blacks too.

    I approve of their tattoo ban 100%. It is shocking to me how many presenters are allowed to have visible tattoos or nose rings etc. on much of US media. They should really nearly all be told to at least put on long sleeves and take the piercings out. The great thing about the ban is it applies to Chinese sports teams – at least the ones on TV.

  49. Everyone ended up in the same place.

    No, they didn’t. Most of Europe did, but the Czechs did not; laws also significantly more liberal in Finland, Greece, and France (possibly others).

    It is certainly entirely possible that an Imperial or Republican Russia would have also implemented hard gun control. Or maybe not. There is no way to tell.

  50. It’s interesting you added this video.


    This is only real situation where “Putin has influenced American elections”.

    5 years later, in 2007, Obama’s PR machine copied the original famous idea of Putin’s PR machine – just adding big breasts to make it more effective:


  51. Most of Europe did, but the Czechs did not

    So Czechia was the one place in Europe that escaped Communist influence. Got it.

  52. Butina isn’t pretty.

  53. It’s disturbing how popular rap seems to be in China, even if it is just a subculture. There does seem to be a distinct connection to blacks too.

    I think the popularity of basketball, and more specifically the popularity of the NBA, is the most disturbing.

    Just like with American football, there is something very disturbing about the avidness with which people will watch sweaty and burly blacks running around.

    There was a particular performance during the Lunar New Year national show this year that I found intriguing from a sociological perspective.

    There were some boys along with what were apparently professional Slovenian basketball players performing tricks with a hoop while young women dressed in cheerleading uniforms danced in the background.

    It seemed like how someone imagined Americans would perform, and yet during the first half of the show, which was shown the day before, they were showing patriotic songs with military weapons in the background.

    I found it interesting as a microcosm in how conflicting Soviet and American cultural influences are, for now, currently sharing the same space.

  54. What’s the importance of these guns? Let’s say that guns are legalized in Russia. There will be a few fewer street robberies and a few more unintentional murders and murders in a moment of rage. What is the benefit?

  55. A lot more suicides.

  56. Most of Europe did, but the Czechs did not; laws also significantly more liberal in Finland, Greece, and France (possibly others).


  57. for-the-record says

    Speaking of Radio Free Europe:

    Are Russian Trolls Saving Measles From Extinction?

    Scientific researchers say Russian social-media trolls who spread discord before the 2016 U.S. presidential election may also have played an unintended role in a developing global health crisis.

    They say the trolls may have contributed to the 2018 outbreak of measles in Europe that killed 72 people and infected more than 82,000 — mostly in Eastern and Southeastern European countries known to have been targeted by Russia-based disinformation campaigns.

    Experts in the United States and Europe are now working on ways to gauge the impact that Russian troll and bot campaigns have had on the spread of the disease by distributing medical misinformation and raising public doubts about vaccinations.


  58. Almost Missouri says

    Pretty enough for government work.

  59. Are suicide rates affected by the availability of guns? I think not. If you want to kill yourself, you’ll just find a way to kill yourself. It’s not that difficult.

    Women who commit suicide usually just try to draw attention to their problems, and then engage in progressively more dangerous suicide attempts (if the first one didn’t get them the caring attention they craved; which it usually doesn’t), which after a while are statistically bound to kill them. This is probably one reason why women rarely use guns.

    Whereas guys will usually just want to kill themselves when they realize there’s really no way to improve their situation, so they will use whichever method seems the easiest and most effective. For a guy to have had a suicide attempt is shameful, so they are more likely to make sure they won’t survive. Guns are a pretty efficient and easy way, but if they are not available, they will turn to some other method, like cutting their wrists or jumping from a high place. I’d use a gun if I wanted to kill myself and a gun was available to me. If it wasn’t, I’d use some other method, like driving my car to a concrete wall at 100 mph (which was the method chosen by an American oil executive a few years ago, despite the availability of guns), or cutting my wrist. I would avoid getting myself killed by a train, since one of my acquaintances told me about a four hour delay on a two hour train journey when the train run over a suicide.

  60. Sorry, in America we take our gun rights so seriously that the US government SELLS Combat Rifles to ordinary citizens to practice with.


    And fortunately, not everyone thinks people being armed with semi-automatic rifles, trained to use them out to 400 yards on British Redcoat targets, along with a little history of American Revolutionary Heritage is just talk.

    The private initiative Project Appleseed in the USA has trained over 100,ooo people in just that.



  61. Ever heard of roulette played with a gun? Alcohol abuse plus guns is a bad combination for suicide rates. In certain circumstances hitting a human being on the tracks can derail a train.

  62. At one point FSB offered her a job

    Is working for the FSB a good career option now in Russia? Or would a job in the private sector be better?

    I understand that in the USSR, the KGB got some very good people, for perks like foreign travel, etc

    Now ordinary Russian citizens can go all over the world.

    During the Chapman incident, local Russian tradecraft in the US did not seem very impressive.

  63. AquariusAnon says

    Geopolitical alliances are not needed for cultural affinity. In fact, even geopolitical enemies can make cultural affinity work.

    However, the most important ingredient for cultural affinity is enough geopolitical stability to ensure civilian business and people-to-people ties. China is an example which disagrees with the US geopolitically but with healthy enough diplomatic relations with very robust people-to-people and civilian exchange, and even the occasional military meetings. The US and Russia are on the brink of severing that. Once non-government civilian ties are severed, cultural affinity have to grind to a screeching halt.

    There’s a reason why all successful long term “Axis of Resistance” countries, namely Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and even Syria have Sovok governments. Keep in mind that Sovok and Marxism are 2 different things. Marxism is a dumb way to run an economy, while Sovokism is the natural internal policy response to American cultural hegemony as a US enemy left out of the global economy. Iran made Sovok mixed with Islamism and a market economy work just fine considering the incredible strain they are under. And they managed to impose it on a liberal, pro-US culture SWPL population to boot.

    Russia is probably 5-10 years away from this stage, so it needs emergency plans to immediately pull the plug on SWPLism and roll out Sovok culture for national security reasons the moment a US embargo, severance of diplomatic relations, and official designation as enemy state is effective.

    Venezuela for example, will have to turn fully Sovok while moving away from Marxism now that they have joined the “Iran club”. If they don’t, they’ll capitulate.

    Russia needs to use Iran as a model when the embargo becomes effective, except of course, replace Shia Islam by Orthodox Christianity.

  64. Bizarre article from somebody who knew Butina socially.


    Butina the fortune teller:

    She stared at my palm and paused with the anticipation of an awards show presenter. “You are definitely a cheater,” she pronounced, eventually. “One hundred percent a cheater. You will definitely cheat on your husband.” I was 22, and by then had gone to countless palm readers down the Jersey shore and in small storefronts in suburban towns. None had unrolled fortunes with such matter-of-factness. She proceeded to unspool similarly merciless fortunes to the rest of my friends brave enough to face her firing squad. She told one girl she wouldn’t get married, but would have one child, “at best.” Another, that she would forever fight with her parents.

  65. AquariusAnon says

    In China, the older generation, and middle aged men, is rather Sovok. They love the type of Sovok shows you’re talking about with patriotic music and military weapons, plus they really love visiting Russia. This crowd uses little to no American products in their household, will not touch most Western cuisine, and consumes very little foreign media.

    The younger generation is much more Koreanized/Americanized. Sovok culture, and by default also Russian influence, has completely flopped with that generation.

  66. I remember a techie telling us of how a STEM student offed himself using batteries; once you breach the skin it doesn’t take too many microamps. How much ingenuity does it take? A tall building. An isolation transformer and a bath tub.

    The “Suicide” canard is currently be used by gun controllers in Switzerland to try to separate the people from their guns.

  67. Sounds a lot like tactless Amanda Knox, irritating other women yet blithely unaware of what impression she was making. Knox said the head of the murder squad (inexperienced in major investigation and female) was immediately hostile. I bet the female FBI agent took an instant dislike to Butina and was the one certain Butina was an Anna Chapman style spy. Like Knox, Butina was having too much fun in the US to go home. But it was not her country. The lesson is to leave diplomacy to professional liars, I mean diplomats .amd avoid Russian women unlike General Flynn.

    Britain is not Svetlana Lokhova’s country either but that has not stopped her getting UK citizenship without giving up her Russian passport. That American being held by Russia supposedly to swap for Butina holds four nationalities.

  68. How much ingenuity does it take?

    Not much with a gun and it is quick. I feel certain a country with a tradition of drinking binges is going to have more actual suicides with more guns. Although even if you don’t use a .22. there is a surprisingly high possibility of surviving, but blind.

  69. for-the-record says

    At one point FSB offered her a job (a note in her boyfriend’s home makes mention of this), but he says she wasn’t interested

    What the article clearly says is that this is precisely what did not happen. Her boyfriend was simply “prepping” her for the possibility that the FSB might offer her a job when she returned to Russia:

    Butina had no interest in working for the FSB, he told me, adding that he was the one who had written the note before one of Butina’s trips to Moscow. He was simply helping her prepare for the inevitable questioning she would face back home. “A question they always asked is, ‘Perhaps you’d like to make a more formal relationship,’” Erickson said. “How do you answer that to say ‘no’ in such a way that it doesn’t get you in trouble?”

  70. AquariusAnon says

    I think I found the single largest reason why Butina is in this much trouble in the US:

    What happens when you swap a B with a P? You get Putina, the female version of Putin.

  71. As the guy who wrote the original list, my interpretation was that they’d made this offer to her before (hence Erickson’s comment that they “always asked” it). From what I’ve read Butina had already made trips back to Russia while she was living in America, including at least one with Erickson.

  72. Lenient Czech laws about the guns are direct result of communist policies. Back then it was “may issue”, local police had the decision power and only few owned a gun for self-defense. After 1989 the trend was to do the exact opposite to what the Communists did, and gun laws switched to the “must issue” model and the lax attitude prevailed.

    Contrary to the opinions here, Czechs do not especially love guns (we own many less per head than e.g. Germany), but they also do not perceive them as a problem. General disinterest made it impossible for ambitious politicians to build a career over this topic.

    The strong opposition to Brussel’s plans to disarm everyone is mainly due to EU image as yet another foreign oppressor.

  73. There was a high profile arrest of an American businessman, Mike Calvey, in Moscow today. This looks more like something of a commercial dispute than geopolitical, but it will likely be interpreted as fitting into the pattern of the US and Russia arresting each others’ citizens on trumped up charges.

  74. She is like Paul Nicholas Whelan, too busy travelling round the world to learn anything about it.

  75. Lenient Czech laws about the guns are direct result of communist policies.

    Why then the rest of former Eastern bloc does not have them?
    The Czech lax gun laws are result of luck – in the post revolution time, some people who happened to like guns just happened to be in charge, wrote the law their way, and it stayed that way since then.
    There is no “gun politics” either for or against – in CZ, guns and shooting are hobby of small minority of people and the rest does not care.

    There was one mass shooting, but no push for gun bans.

    Since Czechia is very safe country, average citizens do not feel need to arm themselves. There is no NRA and if you tried to repeat NRA talking point to average Czech, he would think you are insane.

  76. The power relationship between the State and individual?

  77. Sounds like the Czechia is ripe to have their own version of the USA’s Project Appleseed. In Canada, this has been imported as “Project Mapleseed.”


    Just think, corrupting the kiddies with the idea of firearms being commonplace, desirable and placing the individual as capable of combat power like a militiaman.


    “Dad, do we have to go?” Samantha, my then 13-year-old daughter asked.

    “Yes.” In Sam’s defense, I’d gotten her up at 5. On a Saturday at that, to drive to Black Creek range outside of Richmond, Virginia for a Project Appleseed shoot.

    “We started by shooting a Redcoat target. Thirteen rounds for thirteen colonies. Three each in silhouette scaled for 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards and one for Morgan’s Shingle, scaled for 6 inches by 9 inches at 250 yards. Sam had about half the rounds on the paper. Not bad for her first time ever shooting a rifle, or any sort of firearm for that matter.

    “Then the instruction started. Prone position and steady hold factors. How to use the sling. Sight alignment, sight picture, breathing and respiratory pause, trigger control, and follow through. Shot groups formed and started to shrink. We paused for lunch and the story of the first strike of the match, of Paul Revere’s ride and the British Army’s march on Lexington, the battle of Lexington Green and the deaths of the colonists at the hands of the British Regulars, shot in the back and bayoneted where they fell.

    “Back to shooting. Sitting position and transition from standing to sitting, transition to prone. Standing. The we got to the AQT, the Appleseed Qualification Test, which is pretty much the pre-World War II Army qualification test. We shot a couple AQTs and then the final Redcoat of the day. Sam had all her rounds on paper and three rounds each in the 100 and 200 yard targets. Vast improvement.

    “We don’t have to come back tomorrow,” I told her as we got into the car to drive to the hotel for the night.

    “Oh yes we do!” Mission accomplished.


  78. The power relationship between the State and individual?

    Guns are nothing against the state.

  79. Why then the rest of former Eastern bloc does not have them?

    We didn’t suffer complete collapse during the wild 1990’s, and avoided mafia wars. Banning guns was not perceived as miraculous remedy to societal problems.

    Slovakia was worse, security-wise, and they banned guns for self-defense.

    Otherwise I agree with what you wrote.

  80. Sounds like the Czechia is ripe to have their own version of the USA’s Project Appleseed. In Canada, this has been imported as “Project Mapleseed.”

    While it would be nice, it is unlikely. Gun ownership is low (compared to Western Europe) because we are poor country (compared to Western Europe), and this isn’t going to change. We do not have tradition of gun shooting festivals as in Switzerland. Guns are perceived as eccentric hobby, marginally more useful than stamp collecting.

    Young people prefer to spend their time online, instead of physical activities.

  81. Of course there’s a power relationship. Cuba shows smallarms can take on the state. Take your typical European; what’s their immediate access to combat power? Probably very low. And European governments strive to ensure that guns are registered so that they can be confiscated when the perceived need arises. Look at the chart of smallarms ownership and note the Registered vs. Non-Registered ownership figures.


    Clearly, getting your gun registered is the European governments’ way of keeping their subjects under control. In America, the gun controllers current aim is (1) Getting all firearms transfers entangled in government background checks (“Closing the Gun Show loophole”) and (2) Computerizing BATF records so as to allow defacto “Gun Registration.” ( In the USA, when a gun shop goes out of business, the Form 4473s, the Federal gun transfer forms which a purchaser fills out by law must be transferred to ATF. To prevent the BATF from morphing these 4473 forms into a “Registration List,” the US Congress passed legislation that prevented funds authorized by Congress to be used for that purpose. So imagine everyone’s surprise when during the Clinton Administration they revealed on a nationally televised news magazine show that ATF had a program to computerise those forms.)


    Even in Switzerland, your firearms must be REGISTERED:


  82. Yes, you are poor compared to Western Europe. But so what? Project Appleseed started off in 2006 from humble beginnings:

    Project Appleseed started from a series of ads appearing in Shotgun News, a monthly gun trade newspaper publication. These ads were written under a pseudonym by a fellow who simply called himself “Fred”. “Fred,” the founder of Project Appleseed, whose real name is Jack Dailey, wrote a long running column—actually a portion of ad space for Fred’s M14 Stocks—starting in 1999.[7] A common theme in these columns was “Are you a cook or a rifleman?”, a “cook” being Fred’s term for an unqualified shooter. The name of the project was in deference to Johnny Appleseed, an American pioneer nurseryman and grass roots missionary who traveled the American frontier planting apple trees across the land with the goal of spreading the number of apple trees in America. Fred’s goal was to accomplish the same with civic-minded Riflemen in America. Project Appleseed itself began in April 2006 in Ramseur, North Carolina.[3] These long-running ads ceased in 2017, upon Jack Dailey retiring and selling his business.


    From ZERO starting in 2006 to over 120,000 person having gone through training. All training in Appleseed is provided by VOLUNTEERS.

    Czechia has some tradition of hunting I assume. A relative has a CZ bolt action .22LR, a fine weapon. All you need is someone to get the ball rolling. Apparently, you can buy AR-15s. Others have pointed out that gamers become interested in real firearms after being exposed. Getting people interested via first person introduction is the key to slowly building a gun culture.

    The lowly .22LR semi-automatic rifle e.g Ruger 10/22 is how Project Appleseed succeeds in providing low-cost gateway entry into firearms marksmanship.

  83. Boswald Bollocksworth says

    Butina should go full Anti American when she gets back to Russia. Just strategically for her personally, that’s the best way to cash in on this. She can go on those TV shows where people yell at each other about Poroshenko and the USA. She’ll have to write a book.

  84. Agree, she will probably do some kind of media career – she could be a presenter for REN TV, presenting shows about topics like guns and military.

    She wouldn’t become very rich celebrity with that career though. Just despite the huge population of Russia – the number of rich celebrities is too small (probably because media is terribly centralized).

    Maybe she’ll be like Anna Chapman with a career presenting shows on REN TV, and sometimes performances on parody shows


  85. Difference, of course, Anna Chapman was a spy, and is obviously now still sponsored to write shit on her instagram.



    Whereas Butina – never a spy, mainly a real eccentric.