Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking to Guardian reporters in Moscow in July, 2014. (Image: screenshot / Guardian video)

Snowden Given Three-Year Residence Permit in Russia

NSA whistleblower willl be able to move freely within the country and travel abroad for short durations

Jon Queally

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has received a three-year residency permit from the Russian government, a lawyer representing him in Moscow announced Thursday.

"The decision on the application has been taken and therefore starting Aug. 1 2014 Edward Snowden has received a three-year residential permit," Anatoly Kucherena told reporters.

Kucherena said that Snowden did not apply for asylum status, but that the issued permit will allow him to move around the country without restrictions.

"He will be able to travel freely within the country and go abroad. He'll be able to stay abroad for not longer than three months," Kucherena said. The lawyer added that under that permit, Snowden would not be entitled to apply for full citizenship but made no indication his client had a desire to do so.

Snowden, who leaked a massive trove of top secret National Security Agency documents to journalists in June of 2013, has been living in Russia for more than one year after being trapped in a Russian airport during transit when the U.S. government stripped him of his passport. Russia then granted the now 31-year-old political asylum, which expired on July 31st.

As Deutsche Welle reports:

Snowden attempted to reach Cuba after disclosing a massive telecommunications and email surveillance program run by his former employer, the NSA, last year.

The United States subsequently revoked his passport and charged him with espionage and theft of government property.

While Russia's decision to extend Snowden's residency does not come as a surprise, it is likely to further complicate ties between the US and Moscow. Earlier on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced an import ban on most foods from the US, European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway.

Still wanted by the U.S. government and charged with crimes under The 1917 Espionage Act, Snowden has repeatedly expressed his desire to return to his home country but not until he is assured that he would be allowed to introduce his motivations and a rounded defense of his actions in a court of law, something his lawyers contend is forbidden under the current charges.

“The laws under which Snowden is charged don’t distinguish between sharing information with the press in the public interest, and selling secrets to a foreign enemy,” said Ben Wizner of the ACLU, Snowden's U.S.-based legal representative, earlier this year.

“The laws would not provide him any opportunity to say that the information never should have been withheld from the public in the first place. And the fact that the disclosures have led to the highest journalism rewards, have led to historic reforms in the US and around the world – all of that would be irrelevant in a prosecution under the espionage laws in the United States.”


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Gas Stoves Even Worse for Climate, Health Than Previously Thought

New study shows methane leaks from U.S. gas-burning stoves have a climate impact comparable to emissions from about 500,000 cars.

Jessica Corbett ·


Exiting Breyer Quotes Lincoln: 'We Are Now Engaged in a Great Civil War'

The Supreme Court justice appeared to be "pointedly talking about threats facing the country," said one observer.

Julia Conley ·


Progressives to Biden: Force Pharma to Share Vaccine Recipes Globally

"The longer the global pandemic is allowed to run rampant, new, more virulent variants will continue to threaten health and economic wellbeing across the planet."

Jake Johnson ·


LA City Council Moves to Ban New Oil and Gas Wells, Advance Phaseout

Los Angeles Council Member Mitch O'Farrell called the unanimous vote to draft a law banning fossil fuel drilling "a model for the nation and the world."

Brett Wilkins ·


Pulitzer-Winning Holocaust Novel Latest Victim of GOP Book-Banning Wave

Graphic novel 'Maus' censored in Tennessee as American Library Association documents unprecedented rise in such efforts over the last year.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo