Brittney Griner
GOP Congressman Says Brittney Griner 'Doesn't Owe Us an Explanation' Michael Hickey/Getty Images

A Russian ex-spy could not hide her approval of the recent prisoner swap involving American basketball player Brittney Griner and Russian Arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Maria Butina, a gun-loving Russian ex-spy-turned politician gave her take on the Griner-Bout exchange and likened it to a “Godfather” move on Thursday, Dec. 8.

“The fact that Russia pushed through the exchange of Bout, whom America fundamentally did not want to give away for many years, right now means that, like in The Godfather, we ‘made them an offer that cannot be refused,'” Butina stated on Telegram. “This is a position of strength, comrades.”

Betina is a former student at American University. However, she is best known for attempting to infiltrate known conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association. This was part of the Kremlin-backed influence campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

She served 15 months in a US prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges but was released in 2019.

After this, Betina returned to Russia where she became a member of the State Duma in 2021.

The much-talked-about prisoner swap was rumored since July. At the time, the White House floated the idea of possibly trading Bout for Griner’s release.

Another American who is being detained in Moscow, Paul Whelan, was supposed to be part of the release. Unfortunately, it was only a one-for-one exchange. Whelan’s name was not part of the deal, the Associated Press reported.

“We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan. We will keep negotiating in good faith for Paul’s release,” President Biden said.

Butina also added that she was able to talk with the mother of Viktor Bout on that day.

“Raisa Kuzminichna Bout, Victor’s mother, is visiting me in the State Duma. We talked on the phone with Victor,” she said. “He is already in Russia and will soon be in Moscow.”

Brittney Griner
US Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner Getty Images | EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / POOL / AFP

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