Edward Snowden Has Been Granted Russian Citizenship by Putin

Edward Snowden, a whistleblower wanted by the U.S. for leaking NSA secrets in 2013, has been granted Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin.

Real-Life James Bond

Snowden has been living in Moscow since 2013 to avoid espionage charges in the United States. He was granted temporary asylum, which was extended until he was given permanent residency in 2020. Snowden tweeted about his new citizenship status and his happiness about gaining stability with his family.

Snowden married his wife, blogger Lindsay Mills, in 2017. Their first son was born in 2020 during the pandemic.

Snowden announced that he was applying for Russian citizenship in 2020 because he feared he would be separated from his family in an era of “closed borders.”

Claim to Fame

Snowden's claim to fame began in 2013 when he leaked information confirming that the NSA collected telephone records from millions of Americans and tapped into servers belonging to nine internet firms to monitor online communications.

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, accused Snowden of causing “huge, grave damage” to U.S. intelligence. President Obama claimed that he undermined the government's ability to “keep our people safe.”

Snowden criticized the internet censorship and treatment of gay people in Russia, calling it “fundamentally wrong.”

Snowden was granted Russian citizenship days after Putin ordered the latest partial mobilization to support his ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Heating Up

Russia has stated it intends to conscript 300,000 people who have former military experience, but widespread reports have indicated that even men without prior military experience are being drafted. Politicians and commentators were quick to ridicule Snowden, asking him if he, too, would be drafted.

Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted: “Now that Edward Snowden has been granted full Russian citizenship I expect he will be on the battlefield in Ukraine fighting for Putin any day now. “Or could it be that he will be exempt while other Russian citizens are told to fight in a war of aggression on Putin's behalf?”

Aki Peritz, an international security expert, added, “Snowden is now a RU citizen and under 50; he should now be mobilized, given a Czarist-era rifle, Soviet-era boots, rations which expired in 2012, and sent to the front lines of Ukraine. For the glory of the motherland, of course.”

Despite the online speculation, Snowden's lawyer has made it clear that Snowden does not meet the criteria for Putin's draft. “Since Edward did not serve in the Russian army, he does not have either the practice or experience of military service, so he is not subject to conscription.”

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