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Communist Party calls on elections officials to reject Maria Butina’s candidacy due to foreign funding

Source: KPRF Kirov

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) is demanding that election officials bar Maria Butina from running in the upcoming State Duma elections on the grounds that she’s the recipient of foreign funding.

Butina, a former U.S. convict who is now a member of Russia’s Civic Chamber and a correspondent for the state-controlled television network RT, is running for parliament on United Russia’s party list in the Kirov region.

However, citing information published by Russia’s Central Election Commission (the CEC), the Kirov branch of the KPRF has pointed out that Butina “has foreign bonds and shares in 34 foreign companies, as well as foreign funding” listed among her sources of income.

“In particular, Maria Butina received monetary compensation from U.S. citizen and CEO of the cryptocurrency trading company Backlog.Com.Inc, Patrick Byrne, who cooperates with the U.S. Federal Bureau of the Investigation,” the Communist Party wrote in its complaint.

As such, the KPRF argues that Butina is in violation of Russia’s federal laws “On Elections to the State Duma” and “On Combating Corruption,” which ban parliamentary candidates from having accounts and securities in foreign banks and using foreign financial instruments.

In conversation with RT, Maria Butina refuted the KPRF’s complaint, claiming that while she used to have foreign securities, she got rid of them prior to registering as a candidate in the State Duma elections. “I think the statement from the regional KPRF branch is an attempt to earn political points off my name. Apparently, this party has no worthy means of adding to its ratings,” Butina told RT.

The CEC has yet to respond to the KPRF’s demands.

Russian national Maria Butina was arrested in the United States in 2018 on charges of conspiracy against the U.S. and promoting Russian state interests as an unregistered “foreign agent.” She was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but was released in October 2019. Butina subsequently returned to Russia, where she took a job with RT and became a member of the Russian Civic Chamber. She also published a book titled “Prison Diary.” 

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