from Sputnik News:
The famous whistleblower has been living in Russia since 2013 after he was stripped of his US passport for leaking classified documents revealing US domestic surveillance programs and an international espionage web.
Edward Snowden has officially become a Russian citizen, taking an oath of allegiance and receiving a Russian passport on Thursday, Anatoly Kucherena, the US-born whistleblower’s lawyer, said.
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He noted that Snowden is thankful for the opportunity to become Russian, stressing that now he can’t be extradited to a foreign state. In the meantime, Snowden’s wife is also applying for Russian citizenship, he added.
The official ceremony comes after a September decree by President Vladimir Putin granted Snowden Russian citizenship. The ex-CIA contractor commented on the issue, saying that after “two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile” obtaining a Russian passport would provide stability for him, his wife, and two sons.
Foreign passport of the citizen of the Russian Federation
© Sputnik / Vitaliy Ankov
In June 2013, Snowden was charged by the US Justice Department with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and government property theft, after he exposed classified data to the press. The data showed that US intelligence services and their allies were spying on US citizens and foreign leaders on a grand scale.
Following this, he had to escape the US and his passport was revoked when Snowden was heading to South America. He had to spend a month in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport until the Russian government granted him asylum.