What Next

Is It Time to Free the “Merchant of Death”?

Does Russia want Viktor Bout back badly enough to send Brittney Griner home?


Episode Notes

Known as the “Merchant of Death,” Viktor Bout illegally ferried weapons, diamonds, and even UN peacekeepers around the world. The man who wrote the book on Bout thinks it’s time to send him home, if it can free Brittney Griner.

Guest: Douglas Farah, co-author of Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes and the Man Who Makes War Possible.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Elena Schwartz, Carmel Delshad, and Madeline Ducharme, with help from Anna Rubanova, Anna Phillips, and Jared Downing.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.