Despite the possible threat it could pose to his own long-term safety and security, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on Sunday publicly criticized the appearance of ballot fraud and democratic corruption during national elections in Russia, the country where he has enjoyed political asylum since 2013.
While President Vladimir Putin won re-election with "unbelievable seventy-percent of the vote" on Sunday, Snowden posted a widely-shared video that appeared to show election workers stuffing ballot boxes.
The ballot stuffing seen today in Moscow and elsewhere in the Russian election is an effort to steal the influence of 140+ million people. Demand justice; demand laws and courts that matter. Take your future back. https://t.co/Jh6W8gq7Zx— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 18, 2018
While Putin does retain widespread popular support in the country, examples of government corruption are believed commonplace and evidence of ballot-stuffing were not isolated to the single video shared by Snowden.
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Though not the first time Snowden has criticized his host country, ThinkProgress' Casey Michel points out that it was "by far his most pointed criticism — and one that caused concern from followers for his safety."
How many days will elapse until we see the next tweets claiming that Snowden never criticizes Putin or Russia - something he in fact does with great vigor and frequency? https://t.co/K7ZiIMIZ5q— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 18, 2018
Despite such worries from those who recognized his fragile situation or the possible repercussions, Snowden said he felt honor bound to speak out.
My friends tell me it is dangerous to criticize the Russian government the same as I criticize my own. But each of us are given a limited number of days to make a difference. Life is a choice to live for something, or to die for nothing.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 18, 2018