‘The Americans' was a 'documentary’: Twitter on fire over mysterious Russian spy story

‘The Americans' was a 'documentary’: Twitter on fire over mysterious Russian spy story
A 29-year-old woman accused of acting as a Russian agent in the United States and using sex as part of her ‘covert plan’ has been jailed without bail pending her trial — and it’s all too much for Twitter to handle.

Maria Butina was arrested on Sunday on charges of acting as a foreign agent without registering with the US government. A judge granted the prosecutors’ request that she be remanded in custody due to concerns that she poses a significant flight risk and has been in contact with Russian intelligence officials.

Twitter users were quick to draw parallels with the popular TV drama ‘The Americans’ which depicts the lives of two deep-cover KGB agents living what appear to be normal American lives in a Virginia suburb, but who are actually involved in all sorts of nefarious undercover activity in service of the Soviet Union.

One Twitter user noted that the story sounded like something “straight out of” the TV show, while others joked that perhaps the show was actually a “documentary” and that Butina’s story was kind of like watching “bonus episodes” of the drama play out in real time.

“It's like we're somehow living inside some sort of long-lost crossover episode between House of Cards and The Americans that was rejected for being too contrived,” another tweeter wrote.

Other users drew parallels with the Jennifer Lawrence movie in which the actress plays a Russian agent who uses sex to advance her agenda and manipulate foreign targets.

In fairness, the story does bear at least some resemblance to the TV and movie dramas, though Butina’s guilt has not yet been established. Nor has she been charged with espionage specifically — but prosecutors say she kept contact information for Russian intelligence officials and was in communication with them and working on behalf of the Kremlin.

Prosecutors presented the court with a photo of Butina meeting in Washington DC with someone believed to be a Russian agent along with a handwritten note allegedly uncovered by the FBI at the woman’s apartment in which she asked how to respond to an offer of employment by the FSB, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.

Assistant US Attorney Erik M. Kenerson said Butina was engaged in an “ongoing relationship” with a Republican political strategist and offered another person “sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization."

READ MORE: Russian gun activist must remain in jail after prosecutors say she was Kremlin spy

The 29-year-old who arrived in the US on a student visa in August 2016 has been a prominent activist for conservative values and a big supporter of gun rights and the Second Amendment.

Moscow has said the case against Butina is politically motivated and her attorney has called it “a misuse of the Foreign Agent statute, which is designed to punish covert propaganda, not open and public networking by foreign students.”

According to the indictment against her, she was “developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation” without registering as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice. If convicted, Butina could face five years in prison.

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