Ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden granted Russian citizenship
Published: Sep 27, 2022 08:42 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday granting Russian citizenship to former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden revealed in 2013 that the US government had been spying on the email and cellphone communications of as many as 35 world leaders, including then German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He is one of more than 70 foreign ­citizens granted Russian citizenship.

Snowden tweeted in November 2020 that "after years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That's why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we're applying for dual US-Russian citizenship."

Snowden, 39, has been taking refuge in Russia since 2013 and received a permanent residency permit in the country in October 2020.

After he sought refuge in Russia, the US Justice Department filed a criminal complaint with three felony charges against Snowden: theft of government property, disclosing crucial US defense information, and providing classified materials to unauthorized persons.

He married longtime girlfriend Mills in Moscow in 2017. 

Three years later they had a son, and Snowden said he would seek Russian citizenship to make it easier for his family to be together, especially given the travel restrictions related to the ­COVID-19 pandemic.

But he said he wanted to keep his US nationality.

"Lindsay and I will remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love - including the freedom to speak his mind. And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited," he said at the time.

The couple had a second son earlier in 2022.

Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that Mills would also now apply for Russian citizenship.