Edward Snowden is given citizenship in Russia.
President Vladimir V. Putin gave Edward J. Snowden Russian citizenship on Monday. Snowden is a former U.S. intelligence contractor who became one of the most famous people on the run after he told news organizations about ways to spy on large groups of people.
In 2020, Mr. Snowden said that he was going to apply for Russian citizenship. He said that this was a practical move that would make it easier for his family to cross borders. In a decree from Monday that was published by the Kremlin, Mr. Putin said yes to his request. In the decree, Mr. Snowden, who is 39 years old, was one of dozens of foreigners who were given citizenship.
After giving hundreds of highly secret NSA documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post in 2013, Mr. Snowden planned to seek asylum in Ecuador. He left Hong Kong to get to South America. But as U.S. officials tried to get in touch with him, he got stuck on a layover at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.
After 40 days, he was allowed to leave the transit zone, and he has remained in Russia for the nine years since.
After he left the US in 2013, he was charged with breaking the Espionage Act, which could have put him in prison for decades. Mr. Snowden has said that while he was in Moscow, he did not work with the Russian intelligence services and that he hopes to come back to the United States someday.
According to RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, Mr. Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said that his client would not be eligible for the "partial mobilization" that Mr. Putin announced last week to help his country's forces in the war in Ukraine. Mr. Kucherena said that Mr. Snowden couldn't join the army because he had never been in it before.
RIA Novosti said that Mr. Kucherena said that Mr. Snowden's wife would also try to get citizenship.
After getting permanent residency in Russia in 2020, Snowden wrote on Twitter that he and his wife would "remain Americans and raise our son with all the values of the America we love, including the freedom to speak his mind."
He added, “And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited.”