Snowden swears allegiance to Russia, receives passport: lawyer

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National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, who received international attention after leaking classified information about U.S. government surveillance programs, has sworn his allegiance to Russia, where he has been living in exile since 2013, state media reported Friday. 

Snowden attorney Anatoly Kucherena confirmed the news to the state-run media outlet TASS, saying his client had been granted a Russian passport.

Kucherena said he had seen Snowden the previous day and he was doing well. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Snowden citizenship in September; the Russian government had given him permanent residency in 2020. Snowden said at the time that he would work to maintain dual U.S.-Russian citizenship and not renounce his U.S. passport. 

Kucherena told TASS that Snowden’s wife, Lindsey Mills, is currently applying for Russian citizenship as well.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Kucherena said Snowden is grateful that he is now a full-fledged citizen. Kucherena said that Snowden can no longer be extradited to a foreign state. 

Snowden has been vocally critical about U.S. policies on Twitter but mostly quiet about Russia’s widely denounced invasion of Ukraine this year. He lives in Moscow with Mills and their two children.

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