Maria Butina, the Russian national currently serving an 18-month prison sentence for her role in a Kremlin effort to influence U.S. politics, is writing a tell-all book about her life in the U.S., the deal she made with federal prosecutors, and the “difficult” conditions she must endure in jail in Alexandria, Virginia, according to her father.
In an interview with Russia’s Izvestia newspaper published Tuesday, Valery Butin acknowledged that his daughter was hoping to cash in with the book sales, saying she wants to “at least partially pay off the debts to American lawyers.” But her primary focus is the conditions she faces behind bars, he said, adding that she has “had to endure difficult and unpleasant situations” in jail.
“Maria wants to tell her own story firsthand: what she was really doing in the United States up until she wound up in prison, and the difficulties she’s had to deal with in custody. Apart from that, Maria wants to explain to readers the reasons why she made a deal with the investigation, thanks to which she managed to avoid a harsher prison term.” She’s already written nearly 900 pages of the book, he said, and “it’s all being stored in a safe place” after she was able to “transfer the documents” to certain people.
Butina admitted to conspiring to act as a covert Russian agent as part of a plea agreement late last year with prosecutors who said she’d charmed her way into influential circles in a bid to manipulate U.S. politics. But she has been portrayed by Russia’s Foreign Ministry and state-run media as an unwitting student who was simply trying to improve U.S.-Russia relations when she became a “political prisoner.”
Details on her plans to write a book about the conditions she faces in an American prison come shortly after Russian state media hyped up an “exposé” claiming Russian citizens in U.S. prisons, including Butina, face inhumane conditions, while Paul Whelan, an American citizen held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison over allegations he is a U.S. spy, is supposedly living like a king. The exposé was published by the Federal Agency of News, an outlet that has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department for its role in 2016 election interference and ties to the notorious troll farm, the Internet Research Agency.