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Russia’s ‘Merchant Of Death’ Released In Exchange For WNBA Player Joins Pro-Putin Political Party

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A week after Democrat President Joe Biden released notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for WNBA player Brittney Griner, Bout – also known as the “Merchant of Death” – joined Russia’s ultranationalist political party and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose portrait he said he had displayed in his cell during his incarceration.

Leonid Slutsky, the leader of the ironically named pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), welcomed Bout into the organization in a Telegram video posted Monday.

“[He is] a courageous man who has become a symbol of a struggle for principles, for spiritual and moral foundations of today’s Russia,” Slutzky said.

During an interview with the Russia-controlled RT News last week, Bout told Maria Butina – a former spy on the U.S. for Russia who is now a self-declared journalist – that he supported Putin and that he was so obsessed with the Russian leader that he kept his photo in his cell at a prison in Illinois for his entire incarceration.

“I am proud that I am a Russian person, and Putin is our president,” Bout told Butina.

Bout also discussed his thoughts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying, “I know that we will win.”

“Why did we not do it earlier?” Bout said of Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in February.

Bout had been released from prison after spending 14 years in U.S. custody following his arrest in Thailand in 2008 for selling tens of millions of dollars in weapons that were used to kill Americans.

He was released last week in exchange for WNBA player Brittney Griner in an extremely controversial decision by President Biden.

Griner, who already had a criminal record in the United States for domestic violence after an incident in 2015, was arrested in Russia in February for drug smuggling charges. She was sentenced in August to nine years in prison.

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