Snowden One Step Closer to Russian Citizenship
NSA whistleblower just got 3-year extension on residency permit
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2017 7:10 AM CST
In this Feb. 14, 2015, file photo, Edward Snowden appears on a live video feed broadcast from Moscow at an event sponsored by the ACLU of Hawaii in Honolulu.   (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

(Newser) – Comrade Edward Snowden? Per Reuters, the NSA whistleblower just inched closer to that possibility with a three-year extension of his residency permit in Russia, meaning he may be eligible to apply for Russian citizenship next year, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted his Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, as saying Wednesday. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman confirmed the extension to CNN. Snowden, who ended up in Russia after getting stranded in the Moscow airport in June 2013 while attempting to seek refuge in Latin America, has had his asylum granted through 2020—and as Snowden's adopted country requires just five years of someone living there to open up the citizenship application process, that means 2018 will be the year Snowden could choose to apply.

RT.com reports that Kucherena also offered some advice to the incoming Trump administration, asking the US to be "sensitive" and "objective" regarding Snowden's plight, per a statement he sent to Interfax. "They need only to work through Snowden's story and realize that he did not commit any crime," Kucherena noted. The latest development could put a damper on former CIA head Michael Morell's suggestion Sunday for Vladimir Putin to "gift" Snowden to Donald Trump on Inauguration Day, per RT.com. (Intel experts recently asked Obama to cut Snowden some slack.)

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