February 5, 2023

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Prisoner exchange with arms dealer Victor Bout – Corriere.it

From Marcus Emarezius

The American basketball player, who was sentenced to 9 years in Russia for drug possession, has been released in a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia. BIDEN: On the plane, on the way home

On Thursday, the United States and Russia reached an agreement to exchange prisoners: basketball player Brittney Grenier on the one hand, and arms dealer Viktor Bout on the other. The release of Graner was announced by US President Joe Biden, next to whom was Graner’s wife. It’s okay, Bot told his family on the phone once he got to Russia. Stay in the hands of the Russians Former Marine Paul Whelan: He said not enough was done for me.

Cold War comparisons are best left locked in a drawer. The world has changed, they say, the Russian foreign ministry announced yesterday the release of the american basketball player Brittney Griner
that occurred at an airport Abu DhabiVersus a Russian gunsmith Victor Bot
detained in an Illinois prison since 2008. But he is still able to exert a certain influence because of the mentor role he had with some influential extremist nationalist front, which for years has been waging a crusade in his name.

He was the American basketball champion Very unlucky. In the wrong place, at the wrong time. has been discontinued in February 17 at the Moscow airport. She was on her way, heading to Yekaterinburg, where she has been playing for the local team for the past four years. Like many of her teammates, during the downtime of the women’s NBA season, which runs from June to October, she was in constant contact with an outside team. During a search of his bags, a small bottle containing cannabis oil, a substance legal in the United States but banned in Russia, turns up, where one of the world’s strictest drug laws applies.

The news will only be published at the beginning of MarchIt is certainly not a coincidence. Meanwhile, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on the night of February 24, and two days later, the US State Department advised its citizens to leave Russia with immediate effect. From that moment it became clear that Greiner, a very popular figure in his homeland not only for his sporting merit, An activist in the American LGBT community, and was the first openly lesbian champion to sign an endorsement deal with Nike, which became the perfect bargaining chip. And the heavier his sentence, the more risk Russia can get in a potential quid pro quo.

And really. In May, the price the United States would have to pay was set. high enough. about a movie character, Like the one played by Nicolas Cage, warlordswhich was inspired by his life. They call him “The Gun Baron”. He is considered by the US intelligence services to be one of the largest human traffickers in the world. A former military translator, after the collapse of the USSR, he started his own business. In the mid-1990s, he was associated with illegal arms deliveries to Afghanistan and a number of African countries. There is no shortage of suspicions and allegations of diamond smuggling and money laundering. He was arrested on March 6, 2008 in Thailand and then extradited to the United States, where he was convicted of selling weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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The weights of the respective approaches are certainly not equivalent. Precisely for this reason, the exchange is celebrated in Moscow as a personal victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin. State Duma deputy, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Maria Butina, who spent two years in prison in the United States, says the thousandth proof of the fact that Russia does not abandon its children, affected by unfair sentences by US imperialism. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for espionage. We defeated the stubborn reluctance of the United States to release Bout thanks to the work of our diplomats and the steady hand of our president. Even less partisan observers such as political scientist Georgy Buffet understand that the needle is tilting in the Russian side. The Americans turned in a man they considered a criminal accused of serious crimes. While we returned to him someone did not make a mistake.

The end of Graner’s ordeal is the only good news. But it is hard to find reasons for solace or any seeds of hope from this story. Mikhail Rostovsky, the astute political commentator at The Moskovsky Komsomolets, the pro-government newspaper in the capital. The commodity-money-commodity principle worked with Bout and Griner. It is said that a bad peace is better than a good fight. But Russia and the United States are not ready to sacrifice anything to achieve a “bad peace”. I am afraid that in the near future we should expect at most a few prisoner exchanges. We must be satisfied. Always better than nothing.

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Dec 8, 2022 (changed on Dec 8, 2022 | 22:07)