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.

Revealing He Too Had Manning Leaks, Ellsberg Dares DOJ to Prosecute Him Like Assange

"Let's take this to the Supreme Court," says the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, taking aim at what he argues is an unconstitutional use of the Espionage Act.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Why Is It This Close?' Narrow Warnock Win Sparks Fears of Ominous Doom for Democrats

"The closeness of this race is among the most depressing and ominous things I've seen in American politics in my lifetime," said one observer.

Julia Conley ·


Germany Arrests 25 Over Alleged Far-Right Plot to Violently Overthrow Government

Prosecutors said supporters of the group—who reportedly include a descendant of royalty, a judge, and a Russian citizen—believe Germany is ruled by a so-called "deep state" that should be overthrown "through the use of military means and violence."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Monumental Victory': Manchin's Industry-Backed Permitting Reform Defeated Again

"We've defeated Manchin's dirty deal twice so far, and we'll do it as many times as we must until communities and the climate are safe from rampant oil and gas expansion."

Jon Queally ·


Warnock Defeats Walker in Georgia, Giving Democrats 51-49 Senate Majority

"Tonight, the people—young, Black, Brown, and working people—expanded the Senate majority, neutralized the power of Joe Manchin, and defeated yet another fascist," the Sunrise Movement cheered.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo