A week after U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia, authorities are still refusing to raise a veil of secrecy surrounding his whereabouts, revealing only that he is not in Moscow. A migration service official said on Friday that Mr. Snowden had not applied for residence registration in Moscow.
“We don’t have him in our records. I don’t have any such information. He’s not in Moscow,” said Olga Kirillova, head of the Moscow branch of the Federal Migration Service.
Another migration official told reporters that Mr. Snowden had been issued asylum papers by the Moscow Region branch of the migration service, that is, outside the capital, and if he decided to move to another region, he would be granted permission to register there. He said Mr. Snowden was free to travel and work at any job, except for the government. The Federal Migration Service clarified that anyone’s residence registration was confidential information that can only be made public by the person himself or his lawyer.
A day after Mr. Snowden left the transit zone of a Moscow airport where he had been holed up for five weeks, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said he had settled down in a flat provided by his “friends”. Mr. Kucherena would not disclose the location of Mr. Snowden’s new home for security reasons, but said he had already paid a visit to him. This would suggest that Mr. Snowden’s secret abode was not far from Moscow.
Mr. Snowden is wanted in the U.S. on espionage and theft charges after disclosing top-secret telephone and electronic surveillance programmes.
His father, Lon Snowden, has applied for a Russian visa and hopes to meet with his son in Russia next week, Russia’s RIA Novosti agency reported on Friday.