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griner bout exchange inmates russia usa

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griner bout exchange inmates russia usa

The Cold War never ended, at least for the Americans held in Russia, and the Russians in America. As a real tool of blackmail, they are continually arrested in order to have trading pawns to use in cases such as that of Brittney Griner, or worse. Without considering the events of professional spies at the Edward Snowdenwhich is no longer clear whether he is a hostage of Putinor a traitor who has turned his back on his country.

Reading their stories, however, a very significant difference emerges in order to understand the strategies and methods of Moscow and Washington. Why Russians detained in the US are generally recognized criminals, such as the “Death Merchant” Viktor Boutwhile the Americans in the hands of the Kremlin often run into spurious accusations such as cannabis used to convict the Olympic basketball champion.

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Trade in the Cold War

At the time of the Cold War there was even the “bridge of spies”, that of Glienicke in Potsdam. After the first exchange in 1962 between the KGB colonel Rudolf Abel and the U2 aircraft pilot Francis Gary Powers, for a quarter of a century it had become the clearinghouse of espionage between the US and the USSR. In more recent times, in addition to Snowden, film stories have been those of his seductress Anna “La Rossa” Chapman e you Maria Butinaconvicted in 2019 for having infiltrated the US in order to influence electoral processes, and deported to Moscow, where she is now a member of the Duma.

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60 American prisoners around the world

The last exchange took place last April, when the former Marine Trevor Reedaccused of assaulting a Russian policeman, returned home to the former pilot and cocaine trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko. The State Department has an office to free hostages and wrongfully detained Americans abroad, but it does not give official numbers. According to the James Foley Legacy Foundation, named after the journalist killed by Isis in Syria, over 60 US citizens are imprisoned, from Belarus to Venezuela.

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US citizens detained in Russia

Besides Griner, the best-known Americans detained by Russia are the former Michigan Marine Paul Whelanwhich Washington would like to include in the exchange with Bout, and the teacher Marc Fogel. The first was arrested in December 2018, when he received a USB stick during a wedding in Moscow. He has always claimed that they were photos from his vacation, but for Moscow he was trafficking secret documents. The second was sentenced in June to 14 years in prison, on a photocopy of that of the basketball champion.

A teacher from Pennsylvania, he was arrested in August 2021 for arriving in Russia with an ounce of marijuana, prescribed by his doctor to relieve the chronic pain he suffered from surgery. Then there are Alexander Drueke e Andy Huynh, Ukrainian army volunteers captured by the Russians, who accuse them of being mercenaries deserving of the death penalty. But there are also human cases like that of Sarah Krivanekjailed since 11 November 2021 for a domestic dispute with her partner Mikhail Karavaev.

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The arms dealer

Everyone knows Bout, played by Nicholas Cage in the movie Lord of War, and sentenced to 25 years in prison for planning to sell weapons for $ 20 million to the Colombian Farc. But the US also has other pawns. How Vladislav Klyushin, extradited from Switzerland in December on insider trading charges, but linked to Gru military intelligence and electoral interference in 2016. Or former spy Vadim Krasikov, convicted of murder in Germany. The Cold War continues for them, if it ever ends.

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