Nicolas Cage plays a prolific arms dealer in the 2005 film Lord of War. Viktor Bout is the real arms dealer who inspired this film directed by Andrew Niccol. “The merchant of death”, “the breaker of sanctions”… are some of the many nicknames that have been given to Viktor Bout, reports the Huffpost. The magazine also returns to the story of this arms trafficker, who was actively sought by the CIA and arrested in 2008, following the prisoner exchange agreement concluded between Joe Biden and Moscow. Viktor Bout has been traded for American basketball star Brittney Griner.
Attorney General Eric Holder called Viktor Bout “one of the most prolific arms dealers in the world” from his trial. Prior to his arrest in Thailand, Viktor Bout smuggled weapons into several conflict and guerrilla zones during the 1990s and early 2000s. Huffpost cites countries like Liberia, Rwanda, Angola, Sierra Leone or even Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Colombia. Viktor Bout mainly sold, even to states, weapons from stocks abandoned by the Soviet army after the fall of the USSR.
Viktor Bout: a Russian intelligence agent?
In the movie Lord of War, Yuri Orlov, the character played by Nicolas Cage is of Ukrainian descent. According to the Huffpost, the biographies reveal that Viktor Bout would rather be in Dushanbe, in the current capital of Tajikistan in 1967. It would be at the age of 24 that Viktor would have become a skilled arms trafficker and spoke several languages. . Before the fall of the USSR, the arms dealer, now 55, reportedly attended the Military Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow.
In addition to his knowledge of several foreign languages, Viktor Bout also fascinates for his “in-depth knowledge of the international arms trade and his incredible ability to go under the radar”, as explained by Huffpost. Mark Galeotti, a Russian security service expert, quoted by The New York Times, says there is reason to believe that Viktor Bout is an agent of the Russian intelligence agency.
Viktor Bout © Brittney Griner