Putin grants Edward Snowden Russian citizenship (but he won’t be drafted)

Source: Hot Air

Edward Snowden announced two years ago that he was applying for Russian citizenship. Today he announced that he’d received it.

His citizenship was approved by Putin in the midst of the ongoing mobilization for the war in Ukraine. But according to his attorney, Snowden won’t be deemed eligible.

A decree signed Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin listed Snowden as one of 75 foreign citizens listed as being granted Russian citizenship. After fleeing the U.S. in 2013, Snowden was granted permanent Russian residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship without renouncing his U.S. citizenship…

Snowden becomes a Russian citizen as Moscow is mobilizing reservists to go to Ukraine. In Russia, almost every man is considered a reservist until age 65, and officials on Monday stressed that men with dual citizenship are also eligible for the military call-up.

Snowden, however, has never served in the Russian armed forces, so he is not eligible to be mobilized, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told the Interfax news agency. Having previous combat or military service experience has been considered the main criterion in the call-up.

This announcement was probably intended as an irritant to Washington where Snowden is still wanted to face charges for taking documents from the NSA. But the announcement has also relaunched the online battle between those who see Snowden as a whistleblower (some of who are now hated by the left for criticizing Biden):

And those who see him as a traitor (some of whom are very much on the left):

My own take on this is that while Snowden may not have intended to wind up in Russia, he’s pretty clearly aware of where the lines are drawn in his new country. So, last week, he wrote a lengthy Substack piece attacking the CIA. Here’s a sample:

Let us say we have a democracy, shining and pure. The people, or in our case some subset of people, institute reasonable laws to which government and citizen alike must answer. The sense of justice that arises within such a society is not produced as a result of the mere presence of law, which can be tyrannical and capricious, or even elections, which face their own troubles, but is rather derived from the reason and fairness of the system that results.

What would happen if we were to insert into this beautiful nation of laws an extralegal entity that is not directed by the people, but a person: the President? Have we protected the nation’s security, or have we placed it at risk?

This is the unvarnished truth: the establishment of an institution charged with breaking the law within a nation of laws has mortally wounded its founding precept.

That post was the first thing Snowden has published in nearly a year. He was been conspicuously absent from his Substack site since the invasion of Ukraine.

And that’s really the problem I have with Snowden. He’ll direct criticism at US institutions all day long from his perch in Russia but he remains remarkably quiet about Russia itself, which is run by a former FSB agent who has set himself up to be president for life. And what has Edward Snowden had to say about Russia invading a neighboring country this year? Almost nothing. He tweeted this bland criticism and excuse for his own silence back in February. Somehow I don’t get the same passion for this as for his attack on the CIA.

Snowden is someone who routinely attacks American institutions but who is content to remain mostly quiet about the far worse conditions in Russia. His silence has bought him some “stability” which he’s quite happy to accept even as his adopted country is threatening to nuke it’s neighbors and various parts of the world. There are people I’m prepared to hear well-founded criticism of America from but Russian citizen Edward Snowden is definitely not one of them.