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Tale of Russian Women: Pussy Riot Bedevils Putin; Mariia Butina Is His Red Sparrow

Alleged Russian influence peddler Mariia Butina (left) and Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova. (Photos: IM Collage)

Pussy Riot, the all-female Russian punk-rock protest group, is a thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side. But their visage of feminist rebellion against Russia’s oppressive, male-dominated oligarchy, is a sharp contrast to their counterpart, Mariia Butina, the fetching Russian spy.

The contrast was brought into sharp focus this week with Butina’s arrest for acting as a clandestine intermediary between the Kremlin and American officials and hard-right groups, most notably the shadowy National Rifle Association (NRA).

Anna Chapman was arrested in 2010 as part of a Russian spy ring operating in the United States. (Photo: Instagram)

While Butina was being arraigned in a U.S. court, Pussy Riot’s principal members Veronica “Nika” Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova and Petya Verzilov were staging a protest at Russia’s showcase event, the World Cup tournament.

The women ran onto the field wearing old-fashioned Russian police uniforms and appeared briefly on camera, before being dragged off by real police. All four ended up in a Russian slammer, while Butina was cooling her heels in a U.S. jail.

Afterward, the group issued a statement, demanding more political competition and freedom of speech in Russia, the release of political prisoners and the end to arrests at political rallies.

They followed up with a new song and video, titled “Track About Good Cop,” that seemed to encourage young police officers to stop being oppressors.

Mariia Butina had no problem becoming a pin-up for right-wing ideologues to further Russia’s interests. (Photo: Facebook)

For their “Policeman Enters the Game” protest, the women were ordered to spend 15 days in jail and barred from attending sports events for three years.

Butina’s fate, at this point, is unknown. She’s being held in jail without bond, pending a further hearing. But her arrest sheds light on Putin’s efforts to develop back channels to U.S. officials and influence the political process.

Butina allegedly worked for a Russian oligarch wit close ties to Putin, who has been identified in media reports as Alexander Torshin. He’s described as a “now-sanctioned Kremlin official who cultivated relationships with American political leaders and the NRA over several years,” according to NPR.

Butina worked to “infiltrate these groups and advance the interests of the Russian Federation,” according to an FBI affidavit that accompanied the arrest warrant.

Officially, she’s been charged with failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces similar charges for his efforts to wield influence on behalf of Russia’s Ukrainian allies.

Butina recalls another Russian femme fatale Anna Chapman, the Russian hottie busted for spying in 2010 and kicked out of the United States–forever.

Click Here to See Anna’s (nsfw) Racy Photos

Chapman was part of a gang of Russians who couldn’t spy straight. She and nine others were arrested in an FBI sting. The ring, based in suburban New Jersey, of all places, never snagged any secrets, but they were hailed as heroes when they were returned to Russia in a spy swap.

Check out Pussy Riot’s new video below, plus racy photos of Anna Chapman.

Anna Chapman: Russia’s Sexy Spy: 20 Photos! (Click to Enlarge!)

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