Vladimir Putin grants Russian citizenship to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Snowden will be able to stay in Russia as long as he likes thanks to recently granted citizenship courtesy of Vladimir Putin.


Edward Snowden, former NSA intelligence officer turned whistleblower, has officially been granted Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin. Previously, Snowden had been granted asylum in Russia back in 2013 after fleeing to the country to avoid federal prosecution in the United States as a result of his decision to leak a number of classified NSA documents to various news outlets.

After initially being granted asylum, Snowden was later granted permanent residency in Russian, and now as of September 2022, full citizenship. The news comes courtesy of outlets like CNBC, who note that Snowden is one of 70 foreign nationals “listed in a decree and approved by Putin for Russian citizenship.”

As for why Snowden has been hiding out in Russia, over 7,000 classified documents were reportedly leaked, with intelligence officials going so far as to claim that Snowden could have taken upwards of 1.7 million classified files. Included in the leaked documents and files that Snowden shared, as published by sources like The Washington Post and The Guardian, were concerning details regarding government surveillance programs run by the NSA that not only monitored criminals and potential terrorists, but regular law-abiding citizens as well.

The U.S. aimed to prosecute Snowden for theft of government property following the leaks, along with unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified communications intelligence with a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years. However, Snowden would have to return to the U.S. in order to be prosecuted.

Photo of Edward Snowden wearing a suit in front of a white background.
© Edward Snowden, NPR

There have been a number of people who feel like Snowden should be pardoned given the privacy and security concerns brought to light through the leaks. Of course, the U.S. government has seen things differently from 2013 onwards. Back in 2015, Advisor on Homeland Security for President Obama, Lisa Monaco, went so far as to say that Snowden should return back to the U.S. and be “judged by a jury of his peers, not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime” and to stop “running away from the consequences of his actions.”

Several years later, it’s clear that Snowden won’t be doing anything of the sort, especially now that Vladimir Putin has granted him Russian citizenship which allow him to state in the country as long as he likes. With that being said, we’re curious to hear your thoughts on the news. Do you think Snowden deserves a pardon and the ability to return to the U.S., or is he better off staying in Russia now that he has citizenship? Let us know in Chatty!

Hungry for more news? We’ve got some great coverage of topics such as one of Ethereum’s cofounders believing that NFT games can still succeed, and E3 2023 recently announcing separated business and consumer days for the event’s return.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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