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Ex-convict and Russian parliamentarian Maria Butina suggests incarcerating Russians whose children use VPN

Maria Butina, a State Duma deputy for United Russia who served a six-month sentence in a US prison, has suggested imprisoning the parents of children who will use VPN services to watch YouTube if it is blocked. She said as much in a live broadcast with pro-Kremlin pundit Vladimir Solovyov on Russia One.

At first, the presenters addressed the possible pitfalls of blocking YouTube and whether more children would pick up reading as a result. Solovyov presumed that children would not read anyway and would “install a VPN tool”.

Butina argued that, if adults are unable to control their children and raise them properly, “we don't exist”. After that, Solovyov wondered if the adults of Yekaterinburg can re-educate the students who had declared they were “against the letter Z” and asked another question, to which Butina replied affirmatively:

“Do you suggest jailing their parents?”


Early in June, the public learned that Russian authorities were working towards restricting the operation of VPN services, perceiving them as a threat.

Prior to her legislative career, Butina spent a few months in an American prison. She was detained in US in the summer of 2018 for illegal lobbying of Russian interests and operating as an unregistered foreign agent. According to the prosecution, Butina had attempted to establish contact with the Conservatives. She pleaded guilty and cooperated with the investigation. In April 2019, the court convicted her to 18 months of prison, but she was released for deportation to Russia as early as in October 2019. The Insider covered her story in the following pieces: “Maria Got a Gun: How Russia's deputy central banker infiltrated his assistant into GOP and what he did in the Taganskaya gang” and “Butina to go on trial. What Torshin's associate confessed to under arrest and what else she might reveal” (only available in Russian).

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