Who is Viktor Bout, the Russian “death merchant” that Biden wants to exchange with the US prisoner
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Who is Viktor Bout, the Russian “death merchant” that Biden wants to exchange with the US prisoner

Who is Viktor Bout, the Russian super-criminal, also known as “the merchant of death”, who the US would like to be able to use as a bargaining chip to bring home basketball star Brittney Griner, currently detained in Moscow for drug possession.

For days, the American media has been talking about Viktor Bout. He is a Russian citizen that the Biden administration would like to use as a bargaining chip to bring home Brittney Griner, star of female stars and stripes basketball.

The girl, in fact, ended up in prison in Russia and is on trial in Moscow for possession of drugs (she was carrying cannabis in her luggage while entering Russia), and the US wants to do everything possible for her release, even giving in return Bout, considered one of the worst criminals in the world.

Brittney Griner (Wikipedia).

Also known as “the merchant of death”, it is assumed that he was born on January 13, 1967, but the exact date is unknown in Dushanbe, the current capital of Tajikistan.

There are even doubts about his real name. He could be called Victor Anatoliyevich Bout, Viktor Bulakin, Viktor Butt, Victor But and Vadim Markovich Aminov. He has a lot of passports. For years he was the biggest arms dealer in the world.

Bout’s career began in the 1990s, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the collapse of the Soviet Union. He is accused of having set up a fleet of arms trafficking cargo planes destined for some of the bloodiest and longest wars of recent decades, in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan, arming armed groups in Colombia and the Philippines. in Mozambique and Angola.

Before turning to arms trafficking, Bout graduated from the Military Institute of Foreign Languages, a well-known high school for Russian military intelligence. He speaks seven languages: Russian, English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian and even Esperanto. He worked for the KGB and served as an officer in the Russian army, ranging in rank from major, lieutenant, and lieutenant colonel. In 1991 he left and began his air transport business using abandoned planes.

He is now serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States at Marion Prison, Illinois. He was arrested in 2008 in an operation led by US drug agents in Thailand.

To hunt him down, they pretended to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC. He was extradited in 2010 after a lengthy judicial process. “He has been the number one enemy of the international arms trade for many years, fueling some of the world’s most violent conflicts,” said the federal prosecutor in Manhattan when Bout was sentenced in New York in 2012.

His dossier includes contacts with al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Muammar Gaddafi, and all the best enemies of the West. It is said that his life inspired the film “Lord of War”, in which Nicolas Cage played an arms dealer.

At the moment, however, Russia and the United States are still conducting negotiations for a possible exchange of detained citizens, but there are still no results, as stated by the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.