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Secret negotiations and new hope: In the exchange, Buta and Greiner saw an important sign about relations between Russia and the United States

Russian businessman Viktor Bout was exchanged for Brittney Greiner, an American basketball player convicted in Russia for drug smuggling.

Russian businessman Viktor Bout was exchanged for Brittney Greiner, an American basketball player convicted in Russia for drug smuggling.

A photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS

On Friday, December 9, as they say, “in hot pursuit”, together with the well-known journalist and public figure Vitaly Korotich, we promptly commented on the arrival in Moscow on the evening of December 8 of the Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who was released from an American prison. (He was exchanged for a convict in Russia for smuggling drug American basketball player Brittney Griner.)

Korotich then, with a very small degree of optimism, said: “We did something towards each other, and it’s already good … We agreed with the Americans at least on something – thanks already.”

Some time later, Vitaly Alekseevich added another small “spoon of optimism” mixed with “some hope” to the “barrel of confrontation between Russia and the USA” …

However, here are the few paragraphs that he sent in pursuit of our comment with him …

“Thanks; wonderful as always. (This is Korotich about our publication. – A.G.)

When I spoke, I was already standing dressed, going out for the morning mail – that is, for Komsomolskaya Pravda, and then I thought that there could be one more topic in our conversation …

We read newspapers, watch mass TV and listen to universal radio.

But, thank God, somewhere “out there”, through secure communication lines, there is still communication between serious people who know the matter – they warn each other (they don’t dare to say “each-friend”), they agree on such exchanges (speech about Booth and Greiner – A.G.), but they also warn about the flight of such and such an aircraft, which should not be touched.

It’s good that there is this level – this is one of the hopes.

I think I told you, but I still remember …

In the 80s, I was at a session of the UN General Assembly as part of the official delegation of the Ukrainian SSR (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. – A.G.) York) – let’s talk. But the day before, the then Secretary of State of the United States (I think it was Haig) spoke at the session of the General Assembly – cursing us, that is, the “evil empire”, and promising it all sorts of misfortunes.

Just in case, I immediately called Dobrynin – they say that it smells of war, will it be convenient for us to relax?

Dobrynin did not even comment on my fears in detail, but confirmed his invitation and at the same time asked: “I am just about to have dinner with Haig, he will have something there too; he really asked me to get a few bottles of Gorilka with Pepper, which he respects very much – take a couple of bottles with you when you go … “

Of course I took it.

This is me to how important personal contacts and closed telephone lines are …

I have enough examples, and around us, too …

Let’s really hope that Russia and the United States not only change Bout and Greiner, but also negotiate “behind the curtains” …

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