Putin grants Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Snowden - GulfToday

Putin grants Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Snowden


Edward Snowden poses within an interview with Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter in Moscow. AFP

Gulf Today Report

In a shocking move, the Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Russian citizenship to former US security contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden is one of 75 foreign nationals listed by the decree who have been granted Russian citizenship.

The decree was published on an official government website.

Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor, has been lining in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the US after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programmes.

He was granted permanent Russian residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship without renouncing his US citizenship.

Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the former entrepreneur's wife Lindsay Mills, even an American who lived with him in Russia will apply for a Russian passport.

In December 2020, the couple had a child.

Snowden’s decision to turn against the NSA came when he used his programming skills to create a repository of classified in-house notes on spying on a global agency and while building a backup system for the agency's data, he wrote in his 2019 book "Permanent Record."

Reading the repository, Snowden said he was beginning to understand the extent of his government's trampling civil liberties and sulked, "cursed to know that we were all reduced to something like children, who had been forced to live the rest of their lives under the omniscient supervision of their parents."

Snowden was charged in 2013 with unauthorized disclosure of US information national security and intelligence information, as well as the theft of government assets.

The Justice Department also filed a lawsuit to block Snowden from collecting profits on his memoir, claiming he violated his confidentiality agreements with intelligence agencies.

Snowden's acceptance of Russian citizenship is likely to draw more criticism of him from the people who claim to have remained silent on issues such as the conflict in Ukraine.