NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been permitted to stay in Russia for another three years, and is free to travel within the country and abroad, Russia Today reports.
Snowden was given temporary asylum in the Russian Federation on August 1 last year, allowing him to leave the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport where he was stuck for more than a month after the US revoked his passport.
According to his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden has not asked for political asylum, but has received a residence permit. He will be eligible for applying for Russian citizenship in five years.
The Russian government does not plan to extradite Snowden – even though the US Prosecutor General’s office asked them to do so – as the United States lacks extradition treaties with Russia. Moreover, as Kucherena pointed out, Snowden hasn’t committed any crime and faces no charges in Russia.
Whether Snowden will ultimately apply for Russian citizenship is unknown, even to himself. “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 US. He hasn’t done this yet,” said Kucherena.
With this residence permit, Snowden is allowed to leave the country for a maximum of three months at a time, but the list of countries that have an extradition treaty with the US is long and greatly limits his travelling options.