Vladimir Putin grants Russian citizenship to whistleblower Edward Snowden

Former NSA contractor living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in US after leaking classified documents

Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to former US security contractor Edward Snowden, according to a decree signed by the Russian leader.

Snowden is one of 75 foreign nationals listed as being granted Russian citizenship.

The decree was published on an official government website.

Snowden, a former contractor with the US National Security Agency (NSA), has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the US after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programmes.

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He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship, without renouncing his US citizenship.

Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti the former contractor’s wife Lindsay Mills, an American who has been living with him in Russia, will also be applying for a Russian passport.

The couple had a child in December 2020.

Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticised Russian government policies on social media, said in 2019 he was willing to return to the US if he is guaranteed a fair trial.

He has not commented on being granted Russian citizenship. —PA