Edward Snowden officially filed for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday, according to the Russian Migration Service and a Russian human rights lawyer.  Wikileaks also tweeted out a confirmation of the news.

From Russia Today:

The Russian Migration Service confirmed it has received whistleblower Edward Snowden’s application for temporary asylum. It can take authorities up to three months to consider his request. In the meantime, Snowden may be transferred to a refugee center.

“We can confirm that the documents have been received,” a Federal Migration Service spokeswoman said.

The FMS promised to review his application within a three month period.

Earlier Tuesday Russian human rights lawyer Anatoly Kucherena revealed that Snowden had “handed over his application to Sheremetyevo’s Federal Migration Service staff”.

“I told him about all the intricacies of the procedure. It was decided that a staff member from the FMS office will come to the airport to accept Snowden’s temporary asylum request, as he is not allowed to leave Sheremetyevo’s transit zone”, the lawyer said.

Kucherena also said that Snowden did not indicate whether or not he will move to a third country if temporary asylum in Russia is granted, according to Russia Today.  The former NSA contractor has been offered asylum by Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

“Talking to me, he did not mention that he was going to move to another country after he receives asylum. It looks like he has not made a final decision,” he said.

Snowden had a choice to either request political or temporary asylum in Russia, Kucherena explained. The whistleblower chose the latter because it entails a shorter review time and “he is tired of living in the airport’s transit zone.”

The temporary asylum status in Russia can be renewed annually, and allows Snowden to freely move around the country and work if he so chooses, according to Russia Today.

Speaking to a group of students on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US had essentially trapped Snowden in Russia.

“He arrived on our territory without an invitation,” Mr. Putin said. “He didn’t fly to us; he flew in transit to other countries. But only when it became known that he was in the air, our American partners, in fact, blocked him from flying further.

“They themselves scared all other countries; no one wants to take him, and in this way they themselves in fact blocked him on our territory. Such a present for us for Christmas.”

Earlier this month, Putin said the NSA leaker would not be welcome in Russia unless he ceased his work “aimed at harming our American partners.”

Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald told an Argentinean daily last week that “Snowden has enough information to cause harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had,” saying that its release could the U.S.’ “worst nightmare.”


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.