Rus­sia grants Snow­den res­i­dence for three years

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By REUTERS in Moscow

For­mer US in­tel­li­gence con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den, wanted by the United States for leak­ing ex­ten­sive se­crets of its elec­tronic sur­veil­lance pro­grams, has been given a three-year res­i­dence per­mit by Rus­sia, his Rus­sian lawyer said on Thurs­day.

The an­nounce­ment comes as Rus­sia’s re­la­tions with the West are at Cold War-era lows be­cause of their es­ca­lat­ing dis­agree­ment over Ukraine. Moscow re­sponded to Western sanc­tions by ban­ning cer­tain food im­ports from the United States, the Euro­pean Union, Aus­tralia, Canada and Nor­way on Thurs­day.

“The de­ci­sion on the ap­pli­ca­tion has been taken and there­fore, with ef­fect from Aug 1, 2014, Edward Snow­den has re­ceived a three-year res­i­den­tial per­mit,” lawyer Ana­toly Kucher­ena said.

“In the fu­ture, Edward will take a de­ci­sion on whether to stay on (in Rus­sia) and get Rus­sian cit­i­zen­ship or leave for the United States.”

He said Snow­den could ap­ply for cit­i­zen­ship af­ter liv­ing in Rus­sia for five years — in 2018 — but he had not de­cided whether he wanted to stay or leave. Kucher­ena said Snow­den is study­ing Rus­sian and has an IT-re­lated job, but did not pro­vide de­tails, only adding, “He is a high-class IT spe­cial­ist.”

He said Snow­den’s se­cu­rity is be­ing taken se­ri­ously and he is us­ing pri­vate se­cu­rity guards.

“He leads a rather mod­est life­style, but nev­er­the­less we pro­ceed from the tone of state­ments that come from the US State De­part­ment and other po­lit­i­cal fig­ures,” he said. “The se­cu­rity is­sue should not be treated as a se­condary one.”

Snow­den’s place of res­i­dence has not been dis­closed, and few pic­tures of him have ap­peared in the me­dia.

Snow­den fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow last year af­ter leak­ing de­tails of se­cret state sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

Edward Snow­den

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