Maria Butina’s relationship with Paul Erickson offers a window into the cosy world between Kremlin-connected officials and America’s conservative elite

Most romances don’t end in indictment – but then again, the relationship between Maria Butina and Paul Erickson isn’t like most romances.

If anything, the love story between a gun-loving Russian covert agent and a conservative activist cum alleged fraudster, reads like a Coen brothers movie. There’s the intrigue of a legal thriller (Bridge of Spies), the self-defeating scheming of a crime drama (Fargo), the excess of a cult classic (The Big Lebowski), and even a bit of romance (just about everything, really, ever).

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