Russia finally granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum for one year. After 39 days living in the Sheremetyevo airport transit zone, the former analyst wanted in the US for giving to the press details about National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, left in a taxi to “a secure, confidential place”.
The organization WikiLeaks explained in a statement that Snowden made a request for temporary asylum to Russia on 16th July. The certificate of temporary asylum by the Russian Federation obtained lasts for one year and affords Mr Snowden the right to live in and travel around Russia.
According to the statement, on receiving his asylum certificate Mr Snowden said: “Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning. I thank the Russian Federation for granting me asylum in accordance with its laws and international obligations.”
WikiLeaks “has taken a leading role in assisting Mr. Snowden secure his safety”, according to the statement. Its leader Julian Assange said that “This is another victory in the fight against Obama’s war on whistleblowers. This battle has been won, but the war continues. The United States can no longer continue the surveillance of world citizens and its digital colonization of sovereign nations.”
In Washington, Press Secretary Jay Carney said that Obama’s administration is “extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step”. Carney said that Snowden “is not a whistleblower he is accused of leaking classified information and has been charged with three felony accounts and he should be return to the United States as soon as possible”.
“This move by the Russian government, he added, undermines a long-standing record of law enforcement cooperation”, he said.
The Obama administration is also worried about the classified information Snowden has and can hand to the Russians if he want.The move of Russia granting asylum to Snowden can have diplomatic consequences in the near future because there is a scheduled trip of president Obama to Moscow in September. To a question about whether Obama would go, he said that “obviously this is not a positive development, and we are evaluating the utility of the summit.”
So, back to the cold mood between the two big Countries. Like in the Cold War era, when spies were crossing lines and seeking refuge in the opposite side. Only this time the publicity is working against the US interests and Russian Government seems relaxed enjoying the situation. For instance, one official said that the Snowden case is “insignificant” diplomatically.
National Security Agency
Sheremetyevo International Airport