Putin gives US leaker Edward Snowden citizenship in Russia

Edward Snowden, a US leaker, now has Russian citizenship after Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday.

Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, 39, has been residing in Russia since 2013 in order to avoid punishment in his own country after leaking classified documents to the Guardian that exposed extensive domestic and global monitoring programmes run by the US National Security Agency.

Snowden said in 2020 that he and his pregnant wife had applied for Russian citizenship so that they wouldn’t have to be separated from their unborn child in a time of pandemics and closed borders. The same year, Russia gave him rights to permanent residence, opening the door for him to apply for Russian citizenship.

Snowden, whose name was on a list of 72 foreign-born people to whom Putin was granted citizenship, said on Monday: “After years of isolation from our parents, my wife and I have no wish to be separated from our boys.” “A little stability will make a difference for my family after two years of waiting and almost 10 years of exile. I ask for their and our collective privacy.

On social media, jokes about Snowden being drafted into the Russian army to fight in Ukraine as part of the nation’s mass mobilisation effort rapidly followed Putin’s edict granting him citizenship.

Will Snowden be called to action? The head editor of the state-run media outlet RT, Margarita Simonyan, posted on her Telegram channel.

Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s Russian attorney, informed the official news outlet Ria Novosti that his client was ineligible for the draught since he had never before served in the Russian military. Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s wife, was also submitting an application for Russian citizenship, the attorney said.

While residing in Russia, the whistleblower mostly maintains a low profile, occasionally uploading pictures of his family in Moscow. He stated in 2019 that he would be open to returning to the US provided a fair trial was ensured.

Snowden, who has previously criticised the Kremlin’s record on human rights, has not made any public remarks on the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. He frequently expressed scepticism about Russia starting a war before to the conflict and accused the media of “pushing” it.

Three days after Russia sent soldiers to Ukraine, on February 27, Snowden posted on Twitter, “I’ve just lost whatever trust I had that sharing my opinion on this specific issue continues to be valuable since I called it incorrect.”

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What will become of it all? Ukraine’s issue seems to be even further from being resolved than before. Mass graves, nuclear threats, and the impression that both sides are “all in”

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