Putin awards Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden

Moscow, Sep 26 (EFE).- President Vladimir Putin has awarded Russian citizenship to former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, according to a decree published Monday on the government’s legal information portal.

The 39-year-old Snowden, who had previously been granted political asylum and later permanent residency in Russia, was among dozens of foreigners who were issued a Russian passport by decree on Monday.

Russia’s constitution gives presidents the right to grant citizenship and political asylum to foreigners.

Snowden, who had applied for Russian citizenship on Nov. 2, 2020, has not made any remarks about Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine that began in February.

The American’s attorney, Anatoliy Kucherena, denied Monday that his client may be called up as part of a partial mobilization that Putin announced last week.

“Since Edward has never served in the Russian army, he has no military experience. He can’t be called up,” he told Russian news agency Interfax.

Snowden became a permanent resident of Russia in October 2020 and lives in Moscow with his American wife, Lindsay Mills, who gave birth to their first child in December of that year.

Under Russian law, Snowden’s son automatically obtained Russian citizenship by virtue of his place of birth.

The former US National Security Agency contractor fled the US in the summer of 2013 after revealing metadata collection and other massive electronic spying initiatives by the NSA.

The US government has sought his extradition ever since to face charges of violating the Espionage Act. If found guilty, Snowden faces up to 30 years in prison.

Besides authoring books, Snowden works as a consultant and offers video conferences worldwide on the risks and threats of information technologies.

The US said the granting of Russian citizenship to Snowden has no impact on its extradition request.

“Our position has not changed. Mr. Snowden should return to the United States, where he should face justice as any other American would,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “Perhaps the only thing that has changed is that as a result of his Russian citizenship apparently now he may well be conscripted to fight in the reckless war in Ukraine.” EFE


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