U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden has been set up in a Moscow flat provided by American friends, his Russian lawyer said.
“Edward is settling down in a flat arranged for him by friends, including some Americans, who share his views,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told reporters on Friday, a day after the former CIA employee was granted temporary asylum in Russia after spending 40 days in limbo in the transit zone of a Moscow airport.
Mr. Snowden has access to internet, but cannot leave his place for security reasons and his whereabouts are secret.
“The level of danger he faces is so high that he cannot take a walk in Red Square or go fishing some place,” Mr. Kucherena said, adding that he had visited Mr. Snowden in his new home and brought him some khachapuri, a Georgian dish popular with many Russians.
Mr. Snowden’s asylum status gives him the same right to work as Russian nationals have, and he intends to work, Mr. Kucherena said.
“He will need to work as he is not a rich man,” the lawyer said. The money he had was spent on food and accommodation at the airport. He understands that he will have to work to earn a living.”
The U.S. secrets blower has already received many job offers, Mr. Kucherena said. One is from VKontankte, the “Russian Facebook”; he is also being invited to give lectures.
The White House said that it was “extremely disappointed” with the Russian asylum for Mr Snowden and that the decision had called into question the need for a planned visit of President Barack Obama to Moscow in early September for a bilateral summit with President Vladimir Putin.
U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul met Mr. Putin’s foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov Friday to discuss, among other things, the “new status” of Mr. Snowden as well as Syria and missile defence, the American embassy said.
Prior to the meeting Mr. Ushakov played down the Snowden affair.
“It is too an insignificant issue to affect political relations” between Moscow and Washington, Mr. Putin’s adviser told reporters on Thursday.