Edward Snowden Gets 3 More Years In Russia, But He's Already Homesick
A year after he was stranded at a Russian airport, Edward Snowden's stay in Russia was extended by three years. The news, announced by his attorney Thursday morning, renews his temporary asylum that expired Aug. 1, but he has not yet sought permanent political asylum.
The three-year permit will allow the former NSA contractor to travel around Russia and go abroad, but not for more than three months. Snowden has an unspecified job in information technology, which made it easier for him to extend his stay through the government.
The whistleblower will be able to apply for permanent residence in five years, but has not decided if he will start the process. And even people who have been called a traitor by high-ranking officials in their home country can get a little nostalgic. "By all means he is homesick," his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told RT. "It was hard for him to find himself far from home, especially for the first time. Of course, in the future Edward will make up his mind on whether to stay in Russia and apply for citizenship or to leave for the U.S. He hasn’t done this yet."
It's crazy how things work out, isn't it, Eddie? Just a year ago, you thought you'd be in Cuba! Now you've started a new life with a job in a country run by a man with a penchant for bare-chested horseback riding! And isn't Putin's hobby, overall, a metaphor for your personal journey? Life is a wild ride, man.
Unlike fellow leaker Julian Assange, who has now spent 778 days holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (racking up a pretty hefty bill for the metro police), Snowden has really been able to transition abroad and get into the culture. Without any criminal charges in his temporary country, he's learning Russian and starting to get into the public eye, basically living the American-abroad dream. Or, well, as much as you can when you have to hire private security guards.
"He moves around pretty freely, he goes to stores, museums, theatres, as photos published in the media show," Kucherena told The Guardian .
Snowden's Aussie counterpart, Assange, however, is poised to be arrested if he decides to leave the confines of the Ecuadorian Embassy. He is currently wanted in Sweden for questioning about a sexual assault, but it is highly unlikely that the London police would have up to three people outside of a building just to catch any old alleged sexual predator.
And now that there could be a new leaker giving government documents to journalists, what can we learn from Snowden's sneak away? Once you're out of the country, you may have made passage for a way out of prosecution back on U.S. soil. But pro tip: If you're trying to get to Cuba, pick a route that won't strand you in an airport for five weeks.