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, most notably those with the shadowy National Rifle Association (NRA).