Former Russian spy Maria Butina mocks Brittney Griner’s prisoner swap

Gun-loving ex-Russian spy-turned-politician Maria Butina couldn’t be happier with the White House’s deal Thursday to trade notorious Russian arms dealer Victor Butin for WNBA star Brittney Griner.

“The fact that Russia has forced the exchange of Bout, which America has been unwilling to give for years, now, like in the movie “The Godfather,” means that “we have made them an offer they cannot refuse,” Butina said Thursday on the Telegram messaging app.

“This is a strong position, comrades,” he added.

Butina, a former American University student, is best known for trying to infiltrate prominent conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association, as part of a Kremlin-backed influence campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

He served 15 months in a US prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and was released in 2019. Then he returned to Russia and became a State Duma deputy in 2021.

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Maria Butina bragged about the US-Russia prisoner exchange.

Griner was held in a Russian prison for smuggling cannabis oil into the country.

Famous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has been replaced by WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Booth was arrested in Thailand in 2008 after being lured there by US DEA agents posing as Colombian rebels.

Shooter Booth was sentenced to at least 25 years in a US prison.

The controversial deal to replace the shooter had been rumored since July, when the White House began talking about the possibility of selling Bout to Griner and Paul Whalen, the second former U.S. Marine detained by Moscow.

Booth was arrested in Thailand in 2008 where he was recruited by US DEA agents Appears as Colombian rebels.

He was extradited to the U.S. in 2010 over Russian objections and eventually convicted by a Manhattan judge in 2011 of conspiring to sell weapons to a designated foreign terrorist group.

Shira Scheindlin, the federal judge who sentenced Booth to the mandatory minimum of 25 years when rumors of the exchange first surfaced, said she felt he had served the sentence he deserved.

Griner's imprisonment was politicized by the US and Russian governments.
The exchange “wasn’t about choosing which American to bring home,” Biden said.

“He’s done enough time for what he’s done in this job,” he told The Associated Press this summer.

Bout was originally scheduled for release in 2029.

Months of negotiations with the Kremlin failed to secure the release of Griner and Whelan.

When the deal was officially announced Thursday, Whelan’s name was no longer part of the deal.

“We have not forgotten Paul Whelan. We will continue negotiations in good faith to free Paul,” said President Biden.

The exchange “wasn’t about choosing which American to bring home,” he added.

Russian state media released video of the exchange in Abu Dhabi, followed by Bout talking on the phone with his mother aboard a Russian plane.

In a telegram, Butina said she was on the other end of the call on Thursday.

“Raisa Kuzminichna But, Victor’s mother, is visiting me in the State Duma. Viktor and I talked on the phone,” he said. “He is already in Russia and will soon be in Moscow.”

“It was short as a man,” he said of Booth’s call to his mother. “See you later, we’ll talk.”


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