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Edward Snowden applies for Russian citizenship

Edward Snowden, in a video conference on his book, in September 2019.DPA via Europa Press / Europa Press

Edward Snowden will apply for Russian citizenship. The former CIA employee and former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst who revealed the secret programs of mass espionage of the United States has lived asylum in Russia since 2013. Two weeks ago, the Russian Administration already granted him permanent residence, the step previous fundamental to obtain the passport. Snowden and his wife, Lindsay Mills, will become parents later this year and the former American contractor, who is accused of espionage in the United States, cited his future son, who will be born in Russia, as one of the factors for requesting citizenship.

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to separate from our son. That is why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we are applying for dual Russian and American citizenship, ”wrote Snowden, author of one of the largest leaks of state secrets in history seven years ago, which sparked a global debate. on government surveillance. His lawyer, Anatoli Kucherena, has confirmed to the state agency Tass that they are already preparing the application documents. Russian law does not grant citizenship by birth in the country, as in the United States, but if the parents (at least one of them) is Russian, as in Spain.

Last April, as one of the mechanisms to fight against the demographic crisis, Russia changed its legislation, which forced anyone who applied to be a Russian citizen to renounce their other passports. This is no longer the case: Snowden will be able to maintain dual citizenship, according to the new Russian regulations, which also simplify the procedures to achieve the permanent residence that the couple already has.

“Lindsay and I will continue to be Americans, raising our son with all the American values ​​that we love, including the freedom to speak one’s mind. And I look forward to the day when I can return to America, so the whole family can be reunited. Our greatest wish is that, wherever our son lives, he feels at home, ”he said on Twitter this Monday.

After giving the press access to controversial high-level files detailing national and international surveillance and fleeing from Hong Kong to Moscow in 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted him asylum. Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty but the Russian Administration stressed at the time that in no case would they extradite him. The case sparked a serious diplomatic confrontation with the Administration of President Barack Obama.

The US prosecutor’s office charged Snowden seven years ago with three serious crimes: disclosure of communications intelligence information, transmission of classified information and theft of government property. A declassified 2016 intelligence report also accuses him of having been in contact with the Russian secret services, something the former NSA contractor has always denied.

Snowden, 37, has kept a low profile since arriving in Moscow and keeps his movements secret. The complainant has published his memoirs and takes part in conferences and seminars on privacy and technology through videoconferences. He says that he has learned Russian and that Moscow is a “beautiful city”, but he is careful to make harsh criticisms of the government of his country and host city.

Although he has at times hinted at his wishes for asylum in Germany or France, the whistleblower, who always defends the leak that shed light on Washington’s surveillance activities, commented in an interview with CBS last year that his “target The end ”is to return to the United States, although only if there is guaranteed“ a fair trial ”.

Last August, US President Donald Trump opened a small door for his return. The Republican tycoon, who before his arrival at the White House had repeatedly called Snowden a “traitor” and even said that he was a “spy who should be executed”, declared in an interview with The New York Post that he would analyze the possibility of granting him pardon.