Measuring Global Opinion on The Griner-Bout Swap


Tracking Global Events | 16 December 2022

On December 9th, professional US basketball player Brittney Griner returned home as part of a high-profile prisoner swap between the United States and Russia. Griner had been arrested at Russia’s Sheremetyevo airport due to the presence of cannabis oil in her luggage and was sentenced to 9 years in prison on August 4th. In exchange for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in Russia, the Biden administration offered Viktor Bout, an arms trafficker serving 25 years in a US prison. On December 8th, it was announced that the US and Russia had agreed to a one-to-one swap: Griner for Bout.


  • The exchange was not as high-profile abroad as it was in the US.
  • 40% of US Contributors felt the swap was better for Russia and reflected poorly on US foreign policy making, whereas non-US contributors felt it was good for both countries, with little or slightly positive effect on perceptions of US foreign policy making.
  • Most Contributors believe the US and Russia should engage on other topics despite disagreements over Ukraine. In Ukraine, Contributors were split at 41% no, 31% yes, and 28% unsure.
  • When asked whether the US or Russia would uphold their end of an agreement with the other, levels of trust varied by country. 67% of Ukrainians would trust the US government to uphold its side of an agreement with Russia, a view held by just 49% of US Contributors. Western Europe’s trust in the US polled at 38%, and Kazakhstan at 26%. Meanwhile, trust in the Russian government polled at 14% in the US, 9% in Ukraine, 26% in Western Europe, and 48% in Kazakhstan.

Who was the swap better for?

Should the US and Russia engage on issues outside of the Ukraine War?


Premise collected sentiment data about the Griner-Bout prisoner swap in a multinational survey, receiving 2,528 responses between December 14th and 16th. The survey was launched in the United States, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Western Europe, represented for the purposes of this survey by Contributor networks in France and Germany..

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