Snowden is a Russian citizen now

Snowden is a Russian citizen now
FILE PHOTO: Former contractor of U.S. National Security Agency Edward Snowden is seen on a screen during his interview presented via video link at the New Knowledge educational online forum in Moscow, Russia September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Olesya Astakhova

Nine years ago, Edward Snowden leaked a bunch of info about how the US and British governments were spying on ordinary citizens, even if they weren’t actively suspected of doing anything wrong. He got in trouble over it and is facing espionage charges in the US. So, he fled to Russia, where he’s been living all this time, essentially as a refugee.

But he’s not a refugee anymore. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Snowden citizenship. He got permanent residency in the country back in 2020 and has been working on getting citizenship since then. He is also keeping his US citizenship, saying he’d like to return to the US eventually, so he and his wife are not separated from their son.

According to his lawyer, Tass news agency reported that Snowden isn’t at risk of getting pulled into Putin’s new “partial mobilization" of Russian troops because he doesn’t have Russian military experience and isn’t in the reserves.

Key comments:

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our SONS," Snowden tweeted on Monday, alluding to his newborn second child. “After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family. I pray for privacy for them—and for us all."

“I am familiar with the fact that he has in some ways denounced his American citizenship. I don’t know that he’s renounced it," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a press briefing.

In 2017, Russian President Putin said that Snowden was wrong to leak state secrets but that he wasn’t a traitor.