The self-described whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been given Russian citizenship.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed a proclamation on Monday granting Russian citizenship to a number of people, including Snowden (#53).
Since the US accused Snowden of spying in 2013, when he travelled with the aid of WikiLeaks from Hong Kong to Moscow’s , Snowden has been trapped in Russia with a revoked passport. He was given refuge in Russia and was allowed to stay there temporarily until October 2020, when he was allowed to stay there permanently. The next month, he allegedly submitted an application for citizenship with his wife Lindsay.
The timing of the citizenship is odd. A “partial mobilization” order to enlist soldiers for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was issued by Putin last week. The Russian military has suffered significant casualties as a result of the conflict and must now restock its soldiers.
Snowden qualifies for the Russian call-up for citizens with military experience. He joined the US Army but was forced to leave after getting hurt while going through special forces training.
Snowden is 39 years old, but there is no sign that the Russian government plans to send him to Ukraine to fight. According to reports, Russia’s ethnic minorities would be disproportionately impacted by the mobilization order. Additionally, according to Kevin Rothrock, managing editor of the English-language publication Meduza focusing on Russia, Snowden’s lawyer has claimed that his client is ineligible since he has never registered with the Russian military. Snowden had a brief stint in the US Army in 2004, but it’s likely that Russian officials are more interested in his political worth than his military prowess.
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