Edward Snowden just got Russian citizenship. But don't worry, his lawyer says that he's not eligible for being mobilized!

Russian source:

I have complicated feels about this.

On one hand, 's revelations were a watershed moment in digital security as it applies to everyone using the Internet. Some masks fell off. Some amazing projects (, for example) were directly inspired by them. The outcome is that we know more and might be a bit safer online. 1/?

On the other hand, Snowden at the very least was masterfully used by the Kremlin. Just before the full-scale Russian invasion in Ukraine began he was tweeting how it's not going to happen:

He was, of course, spectacularly wrong on this. And his silence about the war ever since I find pretty damning.

I still don't think he ever was a "Russian asset". The world tends to be more complicated than that.

And I still hope he doesn't end up drafted by his new Motherland. 2/end

@rysiek way I see it, man's gotta live and eat, and since the so-called "free world" turned its back on him, he's gone with whatever options he had. which in this case means not pissing off putin if he wants to keep being a sort-of-free man.

@rysiek If you were in Russia, and hoping for citizenship, you'd probably be super quiet about Russian war crimes too, since Putin is known to let accidents happen to people who says things he doesn't like.


My feeling about it is that Snowden has gone to ground in the one country US forces surely won't go after him.

He probably doesn't think it's ideal either, but he understands his strategic position.

Assange went to ground in Britain, and you can see how insecure that has been.

It IS complicated. Neither man is a saint, and they did break laws. But they also did things that had to be done. IMHO, that's what pardons are for and in a more just world, Snowden should be granted one.

It's more complicated with Assange, since he isn't formally being prosecuted for Wikileaks, even though the popular theory is that the criminal charges were really based on that.

Well, it's not that he had chosen to seek asylum in Russia.

It just so happened.

@rysiek Out of curiosity: what are the prerequisites for Russian citizenship?

@RyunoKi @TerryHancock no clue, but that one was granted by Putin himself, just now. Which is not surprising, from Putin's point of view, this creates such a delicious distraction.

i actually think this is a pretty cool idea! give russian passport to every criminal and just deport to #russia instead of paying for his stay in a prison? it's a win-win! russians will be happy to think they can continue to use those idiots for internal propaganda («look, people are fleeing that democracy!») while the civilized world can begin to seriously economize on prison places ;-)


@rysiek @TerryHancock I don’t disagree, but it’s worth noting that he’s in Russia because he wanted to avoid doing time. He could have chosen to stay here and accept what he knew would be the consequences of his actions. Chelsea Manning did, Reality Winner did.

I don’t blame him for not doing that, but I’d respect him more if he had.

@jalefkowit @TerryHancock those consequences included a death sentence, potentially. Let's keep that in mind.

@rysiek @TerryHancock I’m not actually sure that was the case. The government didn’t charge him with treason. They charged him with three violations of the Espionage Act of 1917, which each carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_S, politico.com/story/2013/06/edw)

(An argument could be made that when you cross a national intelligence service you’re putting your life at risk regardless of what the law says, of course. But that’s a risk he would have been aware of going in.)

@jalefkowit @TerryHancock why would they charge him with anything that carries the death penalty *before* he is extradited to the USA? It's performative at that point. "Show our extradition partners this is serious but not barbaric".

@jalefkowit @rysiek @TerryHancock I think that if there's anything to be learned from the example of Assange and Manning, it's that if you piss off the intelligence community enough, they will continue to imprison and harass you whenever they can, and not even a presidential pardon will save you.

@rysiek It’s sad. The world hasn’t changed, but he did the correct thing. He should be a national hero if people cared about what they say they care about.

@rysiek Although you cannot separate actions/opinion of a person on a specific topic from actions/opinion on other, if these topics are not connected, it may be "productive" to do so.

You may endorse a person's position on x, while their position on y is awful.

E.g. you may be a fan of Metallica; at the same time you are free to boo them wrt their opinion on copyright/ip. However, there is no reason to say that Metallica's music is bad because of the copyright thing.

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