#nationalcybersecuritymonth | Maria Butina to lecture on cybersecurity at Russian alma matter following U.S. deportation

Maria Butina is set to give lectures about cybersecurity at her alma matter in Russia following her release last month from a U.S. federal prison, the university announced Friday.

Butina, 30, a gun-rights activist who recently finished serving a prison sentence for conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent, has agreed to lecture at Altai State University in southern Siberia, the university said in a news release.

A defense attorney who represented Butina in the case did not immediately return a message inquiring further about the role.

Butina studied subjects including cybersecurity while enrolled as a graduate student at American University in D.C. prior to being arrested in July 2018 and charged with acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government. She pleaded guilty in December to a single count related count of conspiracy and served most of an 18-month prison sentence before being released last month and promptly deported.

In a statement published in Russia, Butina recalled studying cybersecurity in the U.S. and said that her program “was not aimed at writing any codes, at digital issues, but rather focused on training political scientists, managers who can make decisions in case a crisis arises.”

“If such a program appears on the basis of undergraduate or graduate programs at Altai State University, then I am ready to take part in it,” Butina added.

Sergey Nikolaevich Bocharov, Altai State’s rector, said in a news release that Butina has “kindly agreed” to give several lectures to students about cybersecurity.

Located in the city of Barnaul, Butina’s hometown, Altai State University is much closer to Mongolia than Moscow. Butina graduated from the school with honors in the field of political science before attending graduate school, she said in the statement.

The Department of Justice accused Butina of infiltrating groups including the National Rifle Association to covertly advance Russian interests. She has denied acting on behalf of Moscow.

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