NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden receives Russian citizenship


Antonio Marin Segovia

The infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has been living in Russia to avoid extradition since 2013, has officially received Russian citizenship.

Elle Weber, Staff Reporter

In 2013, Ed Snowden and his wife arrived in Russia and applied for citizenship in 2020. Monday, Sept. 26, this citizenship was granted. This is a controversial move with the current relations between the United States and Russia in addition to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. This move by Russia to approve Snowden’s citizenship can be seen as yet another blow to United States-Russia relations. 

Snowden revealed highly classified surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA). Snowden began working for the NSA in 2009 and “blew the whistle” on the intelligence he gathered while in the agency. After The Washington Post and The Guardian published his reports, the United States government charged Snowden with violating the Espionage Act. This intelligence publication revealed that the NSA’s surveillance activities were infringing on the privacy of those around the world via Internet data.

Originally, Snowden hid in Hong Kong before revealing his identity. He had worked in U.S. intelligence for over a decade and felt unsafe on U.S soil. After revealing his identity, he reported to The Guardian, He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland – with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom – at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.” It seems that he couldn’t find asylum with Iceland and instead settled in Russia. 

Andreas Sobisch, the head of the Political Science department at John Carroll, explained that, “U.S.-Russia relations are already at their lowest point in a long time. Unless Snowden is dumb enough to travel to a country that has an extradition agreement with the U.S., it will be tough to get our hands on him.” 

Snowden will likely remain in Russia with his wife and two sons in an effort to avoid the charges brought against him in the United States.