Boots & Sabers

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Owen

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1949, 29 Jul 22

Two Americas. One Russia.

Would your government pull out all the stops to rescue you? Should they? Should they be doing it for Griner?

For the past 11 months, Fogel has languished in Russian detention centers following his August 2021 arrest for trying to enter the country with about half an ounce of medical marijuana he’d been prescribed in the United States for chronic pain after numerous injuries and surgeries. First he endlessly awaited trial, often in crowded, smoke-choked cells. More recently, he has been serving the first weeks of an incomprehensible 14-year sentence handed down by a Russian judge in June.

 

Fogel’s plight parallels a similar case that has played big on news websites, led cable newscasts and prompted White House pronouncements: the trial of WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner, who also was arrested for attempting to enter Russia with a small amount of medical marijuana. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States has made a “substantial proposal” to Russia to secure the release of Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year Russian sentence on spy charges he has denied.

 

Marc Fogel’s wife, Jane Fogel, said in an interview after the news broke that she’s still hoping her husband can be included in a swap. But those hopes are fading, she said, speaking publicly for the first time about her husband’s case.

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1949, 29 July 2022

8 Comments

  1. Merlin

    This story has a lot of shady moving parts and most of the story isn’t being told.

    This was Griner’s seventh season in that Russian winter league at roughly $1 million per season (her WNBA base salary is roughly $225,000). She was not a newbie in an unfamiliar situation. She’s not a naive Iowa kid fresh off of the farm.

    Russian oligarchs own and bankroll the teams. The league has very few apparent sources of income/revenue. They play to near-empty arenas. Some teams don’t even attempt to sell tickets. Their suspicious funding is believed to be simple money laundering operations for their owners. Basically, Griner plays for the Russian mafia. Roughly half of the Russian league’s players are WNBA players.

    Griner’s team, UMMC Ekaterinaburg, is owned by a billionaire mining czar named Iskandar Makhmudov. Hard to believe there’s nothing Makhmudov could do to keep such a seemingly minor infraction from interfering with his operation if he so chose, unless current global events have made the price to ‘fix’ Griner’s indiscretion simply too high. Makhmudov can certainly find another player to replace her without over-paying.

    Griner has pled guilty and has pinned her hopes on a political solution where politicians and bureaucrats will determine her worth. Pray for Big Brittney.

  2. penquin

    This story has a lot of shady moving parts and most of the story isn’t being told.

    Sounds like the ol’ saying When giants fight, it is the grass that suffers is more apt than ever in this case.

  3. Jason

    >Pray for Big Brittney.

    Well, someone wasn’t listening to the prayers…. 9 years in prison.

  4. Merlin

    So, what’s the buyout on a nine year sentence? One arms merchant, two spies, a few loosened sanctions, and cash to be determined later?

  5. Tuerqas

    I do have sympathy for her, but really, highly conditioned athletes need ‘medical marijuana’ to function? And they need it so badly they take it to a known anti-drug nation with harsh laws and tensions with the US? I don’t know, this may just fall under ‘you can’t fix stupid’…

  6. Jason

    >So, what’s the buyout on a nine year sentence? One arms merchant, two spies, a few loosened sanctions, and cash to be determined later?

    Whatever it is, it will include 10% for the Big Guy.

  7. Jason

    >I don’t know, this may just fall under ‘you can’t fix stupid’…

  8. Jason

    >I don’t know, this may just fall under ‘you can’t fix stupid’…

    It does appear the Russians are trying to fix it a lot harder than we are….

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