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Curious path of Siberian gun lover accused of spying on U.S.By her early 20s, Maria Butina appeared to have a budding political career and a mini furniture empire in her remote Siberian hometown. Then she abandoned both to pursue her passion for gun rights, and, prosecutors say, to spy on the United States. Butina, 29, was set to face a hearing Wednesday in Washington on accusations she worked as a foreign agent, representing a new generation of Russian operatives seeking a long-term U.S. foothold. U.S. prosecutors suggest Butina used her gun-lobbying efforts to infiltrate the NRA and the Republican Party, both during the 2016 presidential campaign and after Donald Trump's election.U.S. federal prosecutors detailed extensive private Twitter conversations and other discussions between both Butina and a senior Russian official about her activities in the United States.He and the central bank didn't respond to requests for comment about Butina's arrest.Kremlin-backed Russian television calls her the "ideal victim" of anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S.
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