Maria Butina, who was jailed in the United States in April after admitting to working as a Russian agent, arrived back in her native Russia on Saturday (October 26).
Touching down in Moscow, she was greeted by her father and Russian journalists who handed her flowers.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CONVICTED RUSSIAN AGENT, MARIA BUTINA, SAYING: "I am very thankful to everyone who supported me, all the Russian citizens who helped in word and in deed, who wrote me letters, who donated money for my defence.
I am very glad to see my family." Emotional, the 30-year-old graduate student told reporters gathered at the airport that "Russians never surrender".
Butina pleaded guilty in December last year to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia by infiltrating a gun rights group and influencing U.S. conservative activists and Republicans.
She served most of her 18-month sentence.
Her case further strained U.S.-Russian relations, prompting Moscow to accuse Washington of forcing Butina to confess to what it described as ridiculous charges.
Butina did not comment on her case when speaking to reporters at the airport.
But in an interview with Russian state media apparently recorded during the flight, she insisted on her innocence.