Viktor Bout ‘Merchant Of Death’ Release: Prison Swap With Brittney Griner


Simplified to “Viktor Bout,” Viktor Anatolyevich Bout is a Russian arms merchant. His companies were used by the Soviet military to smuggle weapons, and he is also an entrepreneur.

For nearly two decades, Viktor was the most notorious arms trader in the world. He supplied weapons to rogue nations, rebel forces, and ruthless warlords across Africa, Asia, and South America.

Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage, was based on him because of his fame. Bout served time at the USP Marion before being released.

What Did He Do to Result in His Arrest and Charges, Viktor Bout?

On March 6, 2008, Viktor Bout, aka “the merchant of death,” was arrested in Thailand on terrorism charges by the Royal Thai Police.

The United States of America is able to extradite Thai nationals under the Extradition Act. Eric G. John, the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, has asked for the arms dealer to be extradited. In August of 2010, the Thai High Court ordered his surrender.

Free Viktor Bout
In 2008, authorities finally caught up with Viktor Bout.
Apparently, Viktor Bout had designs on selling weapons to a U.S. To be used against U.S. forces in Colombia, a DEA informant posed as a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Nonetheless, he refuted the charges and looked forward to being released.

viktor bout release

In 2012, a judge in the United States sentenced him to 25 years in prison for multiple crimes related to his long career as a weapons dealer.

His home country has maintained his innocence and has worked to secure his release, viewing his case as a blatant injustice.

He is accused of assembling a fleet of cargo planes in the 1990s and using them to transport military-grade weaponry to war zones around the world. These munitions are said to have fueled brutal conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan, among other places. Following allegations that he was involved in trafficking activities in Liberia, officials in the United States froze his assets in the United States in 2004 and prevented him from engaging in any transactions within the country.

Bout has stated on multiple occasions that he ran legitimate enterprises and served as little more than a logistical provider. Although there is some disagreement on his age due to the existence of many passports and documents, it is generally accepted that he is in his 50s.

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Answering the question, “Who is Viktor Bout?”

On January 13, 1967, in Dushanbe, Soviet Tajikistan, Viktor Bout entered the world. He is well-versed in a number of tongues.And he’s a family man, having tied the knot and all. It has been said that Alla Bout is Viktor Bout’s wife. She is Elizaveta Viktorovna Bout, the only child of the couple.

He’s a trained linguist who studied at the Military Institute of Foreign Languages. More so, the arms dealer had a stint as a lieutenant in the Soviet Armed Forces, translating for them in Angola.Later on, Viktor’s operations in Angola became crucial to his success. In the years following the fall of the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc in 1991, Bout accomplished his greatest success.

viktor bout release date

That’s when he used a slew of fratricidal civil conflicts in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere to profit from a sudden surplus of abandoned Soviet-era weapons.The dealer in death purchased a fleet of about 60 antiquated Soviet military planes in the United Arab Emirates. This allowed him to sell his wares all over the world as the Soviet Union’s once-impressive air force began to disintegrate.

The 2007 biography “Merchant of Death: Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible” was written by Viktor Bout.

He was a Soviet officer, probably a lieutenant, who saw the opportunity presented by three factors following the fall of the USSR and the state sponsorship that entailed: abandoned aircraft on the runways from Moscow to Kiev, unable to fly due to the lack of money for fuel or maintenance; huge stores of surplus weapons guarded by guards suddenly receiving little or no salary; and the booming demand for those weapons from traditionalists.

When he wasn’t writing, he was serving as an officer in Mozambique’s armed forces. Still others have put the blame on Angola, where Russia maintained a sizable military presence at the time. In the early to mid-1990s, the United Nations and the United States began investigating him, which is when he first gained widespread attention.

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An Exchange of Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout in Prison

As was already mentioned, the Russian arms dealer was set free as part of the prisoner exchange deal that resulted in Brittney Griner being released. The Russian national served a total of 14 years behind bars.

The release of Viktor Bout
A prisoner exchange involving Brittney Griner resulted in the release of Viktor Bout on December 8th, 2022.

viktor bout release date

In February of 2022, the professional basketball star Griner was taken into custody at the Moscow Airport for possession of hashish oil.

On Thursday, the United States, as reported by Reuters, Joe Biden, the Vice President, stated that Brittney Griner had been released as a result of a trade for Viktor Bout, which Russia asserted had taken place.

The president of the United States stated that Griner was okay and that she was currently flying back to the United States. It also appears that Viktor has relocated back to his native nation.

Final Words

The eventual release of a convicted Russian arms dealer whose life story inspired a Hollywood blockbuster was the key to freeing Brittney Griner.

On Thursday 8 december, the US basketball player was released from Russian custody in exchange for Viktor Bout, whose accusers have dubbed the “Merchant of Death.”

Former Soviet military commander Bout was serving a 25-year term in the United States for conspiracy to murder Americans, acquisition and sale of anti-aircraft missiles, and provision of material support to a terrorist organisation. Bout insists he’s completely blameless.


  • Viraj Patil

    Viraj is a Content Editor currently working at, He intended to write on the most recent developments of Entertainment, Sports to News from his own unique angle. He is a Final Year Engineering student

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