Snowden may seek Russian citizenship: lawyer

Temporary asylum qualifies him for naturalisation after three years

July 18, 2013 12:57 am | Updated June 04, 2016 05:30 pm IST - MOSCOW:

U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden may seek a Russian passport in future, his lawyer has said.

“He does not rule out anything for now, including the option of seeking Russian citizenship later on,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told journalists on Wednesday.

The temporary asylum Mr. Snowden applied for on Tuesday will qualify him for naturalisation after staying in Russia for three years.

At the same time, the former NSA contractor does not rule out leaving Russia for another country as well.

“He would like to meet with the leaders of those countries which are ready to take him, but for the time being he has no plans to travel out of Russia,” said Mr. Kucherena, who is also a member of the Public Chamber, a Kremlin advisory board.

The Russian lawyer expects Mr. Snowden within a week to leave the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where he has been holed up for more than three weeks after the U.S. revoked his passport.

“He will get a temporary identification document that will enable him to travel around Russia while his asylum application is being considered,” the lawyer said.

Mr. Kucherena, who helped Mr. Snowden prepare his asylum application, said the 30-year-old intelligence analyst looked upset when they met at the Moscow airport. “He felt kind of depressed. We talked about his life, his parents who are divorced,” the lawyer said. “But on the whole he comes across as a normal guy.”

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