Maria Butina, the Russian national accused of infiltrating NRA and GOP circles, was arrested this week for conspiring against the U.S. as a spy, the Justice Department charges.
On Wednesday, charges emerged that Butina, 29, had a "personal relationship" with a Washington, D.C., insider (NPR and the Washington Post suggest it's longtime right-wing activist Paul Erickson). Butina offered another person "sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization," according to court filings. Ultimately, Butina hoped "to penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation," the documents add.
Unfortunately, for our purposes, none of those juicy angles contain Minnesota connections -- or do they? A tipster alerted City Pages to this tweet from Rolling Stone journalist Tim Dickinson:
and here she is (as flapper) with Paul Erickson (holding rum), partying graveside at the tombstone of F. Scott Fitzgerald pic.twitter.com/gNOLXkPW6M— Tim Dickinson (@7im) July 18, 2018
In that screen-grab of a 2015 Facebook post, we see Butina (upper-left, in basic flapper outfit) and Erickson (lower-right, in brotastic hat/button-up) partying by F. Scott "Pride of St. Paul" Fitzgerald's tombstone in Rockville, Maryland.
Decorum fit for a graveyard? Questionable, though celeb graves are widely accepted as makeshift memorials for fans, so they get a pass. But would Fitzgerald -- with his elegant prose, razor wit, and deep cynicism -- scoff at the ham-fistedness of this scene, one that features Erickson super-helpfully holding up a copy of The Great Gatsby? You gotta think the Minnesota-born literary titan would dunk all over these normies.
So there you have it: Espionage, sex, guns, heated politics, geopolitical intrigue, and potential crimes, complete with an airtight, overwhelmingly pointless local angle. Apply your own trenchant meaning to the inscription on Fitzgerald's grave, which also happens to be the final line in Gatsby, as it applies to the ongoing U.S.-Russian shitstorm:
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.