Edward Snowden's Life in Russia After Leaking Classified Data

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Five years ago former US National Security Agency (NSA) officer, whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked online classified information revealing global surveillance programs run by US intelligence services in early June 2013, was granted temporary asylum in Russia.

Snowden's revelations could cost him as much as 30 years in prison in the United States, where he is wanted on charges of espionage and theft of government property.

After the documents' release, Snowden fled to Hong Kong, and on June 23, 2013, arrived from Hong Kong to Moscow. He remained in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport, which he was unable to leave, as his US passport had been revoked.

On June 30, 2013, WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison, presented to the consular department at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport requests for political asylum addressed to 21 countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

On July 7, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Venezuelan authorities, who had offered the former US defense contractor guarantees of asylum, were waiting for a response to their offer. Bolivian President Evo Morales also expressed his readiness to grant Snowden asylum if he officially requested it. Nicaragua also offered their assistance for asylum.On July 11, Snowden emailed a letter to foreign human rights organizations working in Russia, the UN mission in Moscow, and several Russian lawyers, inviting them to meet him on July 12 in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport. After the meeting, it became known that Snowden would request temporary asylum in Russia.

On July 16, Snowden's new Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena filed an official request for temporary asylum in Russia to a representative of the Federal Migration Service. As part of the explanation for requesting asylum during the paperwork filing, Snowden explained that he feared for his life.

On July 31, Snowden was granted a one-year temporary asylum in Russia.

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