MADRID, Dec. 12 (.) –
Arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as ‘the merchant of death’ and recently handed over to Russia in a prisoner swap with the United States, has joined the ultra-nationalist Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), according to reports. their leader announced.
“Viktor Bout has become a member of the LDPR,” said the leader of the formation, Leonid Slutski, who pointed out that the party gave him his card during an event in Moscow during the day.
“We are the party of the patriots. I am sure that Viktor Bout, a brave person with a firm will, will occupy a position of value. Welcome to our ranks,” he said through a message on his Telegram account.
The LDPR, which has 21 of the 450 seats in the Russian Parliament, is a party with ultranationalist and imperialist overtones that emerged in 1989 as the Liberal-Democratic Party of the Soviet Union. The formation was headed between 1992 and 2022 by Vladimir Zhirinovski, who died in April.
The United States and Russia confirmed on Thursday the prisoner swap whereby American professional basketball player Brittney Griner, jailed in Russia on drug trafficking charges, and Bout, so far in a US prison for arms trafficking, returned to their respective countries.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, signed the decree on Friday confirming the pardon of Bout, although he is prohibited from re-entering the country. Washington has commuted the 25-year prison sentence for the arms dealer — arrested in Thailand in 2008 — for a shorter one that allows him to be released.