Russia calls Brittney Griner swap a ‘tremendous victory’

According to reporting from CBS News, Russia is celebrating the recent Brittney Griner prison swap as a “tremendous victory.”

In case you missed it, last week, President Joe Biden and his administration secured the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner by agreeing to a prisoner swap of Griner for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Griner found herself in a Russian prison after being caught with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years behind bars. Bout, on the other hand, was serving a 25-year sentence for conspiring to kill Americans.

The Biden administration’s prisoner swap has been slammed for many reasons, including that, on paper, it just doesn’t seem to be a fair swap. Others also took issue with the fact that Biden chose to swap Bout for Griner rather than Bout for U.S. Marine veteran Paul Whelan, who has been sitting in a Russian jail since 2018 on espionage charges.

“Tremendous victory”

Considering these facts, it is not surprising that Russia is claiming victory in the prisoner swap.

CBS quotes Vladimir Soloviev, described as “Russia’s top propagandist,” as saying:

I have to say that we have achieved a tremendous victory today. I don’t even think we have the full understanding of how big it is. The Russian intelligence agencies, alongside the Foreign Ministry, have carried out a stunning operation and brought home a man who did not plead guilty once, who was wrongly convicted and slandered but did not betray his homeland.

Reuters, similarly, quotes Russian legislator Maria Butina as calling the prisoner swap “a capitulation by America.”

“It shows that Russia doesn’t abandon its own while America has shown its defeat,” Butina said.

Many Americans agree

This is one of those situations in which there are many, many Americans who agree with Russia’s interpretation of the prisoner swap – and that’s because it is a fair interpretation.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), for example, has argued that the prisoner swap exemplifies a “pattern of weakness” and “capitulation” from Biden and the Democrats.

“Whether it’s Afghanistan, whether it’s Gitmo, whether it’s in this case, the Democrats in general and Joe Biden in particular really don’t stand up for America and can be pushed around by any country on the planet,” Perry said.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the other hand, argued that this prisoner swap, in which a celebrity is traded for a bad guy, “creates the wrong incentives for the bad guys.”

The critics are right on this one

Biden and the Democrats have been doing their best to silence their critics, including the criticism about Whelan, about creating the wrong incentives, and more. This is an implicit acknowledgment that the criticism has widespread support – otherwise, they wouldn’t be bothering with it.

So far, the Biden administration’s narrative is just not that convincing. This appears to have just been a bad swap, plain and simple.

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