Washington and Moscow exchanged imprisoned basketball player Brittney Greiner for arms dealer Victor Bout, who spent 12 years in a US prison.
Because of Bhut’s way of life, a Hollywood movie has been made about him, and it is about a person who, among other things, earned the nickname “merchant of death” because he sold weapons to many warring parties, from Africa to Asia.
After leaving the American prison, Bout said that “it is difficult to find words to describe the feelings after the release”. He also added that he did not encounter much anti-Russian sentiment during his imprisonment, and that many of his “colleagues” from prison have sympathy for Moscow.
His wife, Alla Butt, said he felt “exhausted” after the long journey and had not slept for three days, but thanked Washington for the way he was treated during the exchange, “with respect, without handcuffs”. She also added that she “hopes that the US will hand over Bhut’s drawings and documents to the Russian embassy.”
The sports world was pleased with the exchange, but there were also many critics, including journalist Benny Johnson, who compared Britney Greiner to Paul Willen, an American sailor who is also in a Russian prison, but who was not part of this exchange of prisoners.
Republican Marjorie Taylor Green also spoke, calling for Biden’s resignation and asking “how many people is Bout going to kill now that he’s free.”
The American president spoke about these and similar reactions, saying that “they did not forget either Britney or Paul Willen, who was unjustly detained for years in Russia”. “This was not a choice about which American we were going to bring home,” Biden said.