Day 1384 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - October 12, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Paul Calls Home

Paul has finally been able to speak to our parents again.  He was moved to IK-21, a prison hospital, on September 15.  He was able to make one phone call since then until today.  Apparently the phones are rarely working at the prison.  A nation held together with graft and bubblegum.  

Paul is not receiving any medical treatment because he does not need any.  He is still not sure why he is at the prison hospital and not at IK-17.  We saw reports from the family of another IK-17 prisoner that might be a partial explanation.  They reported that 100 IK-17 prisoners had now gone to fight in the Russian war.  Perhaps they don't want Paul to be able to comment on how voluntary that participation is.

We noticed that Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov was going walkabout this week in the U.S., to visit Viktor Bout in Marian, Illinois, among others.  I expect that will be a difficult visit.  Kremlin dogsbodies have been clamoring for Bout's release for years.  And then, when the U.S. offers it, crickets.  Someone even registered a new domain name for Viktor this summer, loading it with photos and fan fiction, perhaps in anticipation of his release.  But whoever is making the decisions in Russia at the moment, they do not seem to be motivated to bring home that particular countryman.

We will be watching the outcome of Brittney Griner's appeal on October 25 and hoping for the unlikely reduction of sentence or release for time served.  Unless there is some decision that sees her released, it may mean her transfer to a labor colony for the execution of her sentence.  This appeal does not seem to be impacting U.S. and Russian government discussions about Paul and Brittney's freedom so much as Russian government bad faith is.  It was good to see that President Biden continues to have their freedom top of mind, as he made clear during last night's interview with Jake Tapper.