Putin grants Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden

Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence analyst wanted by the U.S. Justice for leaking to Wikileaks abundant information about the National Security Agency (NSA).

The Russian president signed a decree Monday, reported by the official Government Legal Information portal, granting citizenship to dozens of people, including Snowden, a 39-year-old American.

Putin has thus satisfied the request of the former intelligence agent, who in November 2020 submitted with his wife, also American Lindsay Mills, a request to receive Russian citizenship, although she has not yet received the go-ahead from the Kremlin.

The couple’s lawyer, Russian Anatoli Kucherena, explained in an interview to the Russian agency TASS that Snowden “has completed all the procedures provided by the legislation” and meets the necessary requirements to receive citizenship.

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“For more than five years he has been on the territory of Russia, he has a residence permit. He counted on all this,” remarked Kucherena, who assured that his defendant is happy about the decision taken by Putin.

Snowden is wanted by the U.S. Justice after he leaked in 2013 numerous secret documents revealing different espionage techniques carried out by the National Security Agency, including illegal wiretapping of international political leaders.

Once he fled the United States, his first destination was Hong Kong, although he later ended up in Russia. In 2014, he received a first residence permit which, years later, would be extended indefinitely.

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It is true that in May 2014, one of Snowden’s lawyers at the time, Wolfgang Kaleck, said that his client would be willing to return to U.S. soil “under certain conditions”, and acknowledged that there were “negotiations” underway to that end.


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