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Convicted Russian agent Maria Butina, who served over a year in a U.S. prison and received a hero’s welcome upon her return to Moscow in 2019, faced an embarrassing setback in her attempt to be elected to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament in Russia. News organizations assumed that Butina was a shoo-in as a candidate in the rural region of Kirov Oblast. She ran under the helm of President Vladimir Putin’s ruling party, United Russia, which was declared the winner in last week’s elections, marred by wide-ranging accusations of fraud.

But according to the finalized results of the elections reported by Russia’s only independent television channel TV Rain, Maria Butina did not make it after all. A local Kirov media outlet, Vyatka-na-Seti News, reached the same conclusion. Vyatka-na-Seti News reported: “The Kirov region showed extremely low support for the United Russia party in the…

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