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    Putin signs decree granting Snowden Russian citizenship

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree granting Russian citizenship to former CIA and National Security Agency officer Edward Snowden, who has been living in Russia since 2013.

    “In accordance with paragraph “a” of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, I decide: to accept the citizenship of the Russian Federation of the following persons: Edward Joseph Snowden, born on June 21, 1983 in the United States of America,” the document says.

    In addition to him, more than 70 foreigners received citizenship , including the French actor and screenwriter Olivier Siou, who starred in Russian cinema. By the same decree, Putin granted the applications of three people to renounce Russian citizenship.

    The US State Department, commenting on the acquisition of citizenship by a former NSA employee, stated that he “should return to the United States and face justice like any other American citizen” .

    Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Snowden was granted citizenship at his request. He also clarified that Putin does not plan to meet with the ex-employee of the American intelligence services.

    Snowden applied for Russian citizenship in early November 2020. A few weeks earlier, he received an indefinite residence permit in Russia.

    His wife Lindsey will also apply for Russian citizenship, said Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer for the former NSA employee.

    Regarding Snowden’s reaction to granting him citizenship, the lawyer said: “Of course, Edward is grateful to Russia that she did not turn away from him at a difficult moment for him, and is glad that he became a Russian citizen” .

    He was asked why the process of obtaining a Russian passport took so long. “He received citizenship on a general basis, having fulfilled all the conditions of the legislation of the Russian Federation on citizenship,” Kucherena explained.

    According to him, the couple’s son, who was born in the Russian Federation in 2020, has already received Russian citizenship birth.

    Will not serve, but may become a politician

    The lawyer also stated that Snowden, after becoming a Russian citizen, will not be called up as part of the mobilization.

    service and have the appropriate specialty. And then he will act according to the law, as everything is provided for in Russian legislation,” he added. wants to become a member of the party, his application “will definitely be considered”.

    He noted that Snowden has not yet approached the party with any ideas of cooperation. “However, we have an all-Russian recruitment in the Liberal Democratic Party in memory of the founder of the party. We invite everyone who sympathizes with the ideas of Vladimir Zhirinovsky to apply, ”the politician specified.

    Why Snowden fled the USA

    In 2013, Snowden, being an employee of the US National Security Agency, gave The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers classified information regarding the surveillance of American intelligence agencies over the information communications of citizens around the world. The Guardian reported that the NSA has been monitoring 35 world heads of state and government for more than five years.

    It has given journalists access to about million secret files associated with the PRISM program, thanks to which the special service could track calls from subscribers of the largest mobile operators and collect information about users of social networks and search services. The American authorities accused him of divulging classified information.

    He left the United States and fled to Hong Kong, and then, finding himself in the Sheremetyevo transit zone, received political asylum in Russia. According to Snowden, he applied for asylum in 27 countries , but all except Moscow refused him, fearing sanctions from Washington.

    Putin In an interview with film director Oliver Stone in 2017, he said that he considered Snowden’s act wrong. “I don’t think he should have done it. If he didn’t like something in the job to which he was invited, he just had to quit and that’s it. But he went further,” he said. At the same time, Putin refused to consider Snowden a traitor.

    In the US, a former NSA and CIA officer faces up to 30 years in prison on charges of espionage and theft of government property.

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