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article imageRussians welcome Edward Snowden, offered job in Russia

By JohnThomas Didymus     Aug 3, 2013 in World
Moscow - NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, wanted on charges of leaking classified documents about US surveillance programs has been welcomed with messages posted online by Russian bloggers and activists. An online Russian company has offered him a job.
Bloomberg notes that most Russians approve of President Vladimir Putin's decision to grant the former CIA employee asylum for a period of one year during which he is free to live and work in Russia.
Snowden could renew his refugee status after one year. His lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said he plans to apply for permanent residency.
Although Russian bloggers praised him for summoning the courage to leak the US government's surveillance programs, many could not resist making jokes and sardonic comments at his expense, The New York Times reports.
Some bloggers referred to the irony of the fact that he was being granted asylum by a country that has been known to deal ruthlessly with its own whistle-blowers and rights activists.
Mark Feygin, the Russian lawyer who represented one of the Pussy Riot activists posted to Twitter: "Snowden doesn't quite understand that his acceptance of Russian asylum is the same as his agreeing to receive his inheritance from a Nigerian lawyer by e-mail."
Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular Russian social media site, VKontakte, offered Snowden employment in a field he knows a lot about: data security.
Durov's message reads:
Today Edward Snowden — the man that exposed the crimes of the U.S. intelligence agencies against citizens across the globe — received temporary asylum in Russia. At such moments, one feels proud of our country and sadness over U.S. policy — a country that has betrayed the principles that it was once built upon.
We invite Edward to St. Petersburg and will be thrilled if he decides to join our stellar team of programmers at VKontakte. At the end of the day, there is no European Internet company more popular than VK. I think Edward might be interested in protecting the personal data of our millions of users.
A host at Ekho Moskvy, a radio station, said: "... the asylum seeker picked a very odd place of refuge.”
A news site, Sputnik & Pogrom, joked grimly: "For crimes against the American government, a U.S. court sentenced Snowden to the highest form of punishment — life in Russia."
A Twitter comment said: "Poor Snowden — the guy thinks he’s free."
Other journalists suggested he should follow the example of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, with a talk-show on Russia Today.
In an interview with New Republic, Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, said he appeared not to have believed it when he was first told the Russian government had granted him asylum.
Kucherena said: "At first, he seemed not to fully understand it, internally. Because he had been waiting for it for so long, he had been so worried. He said, 'It can't be!' That he wouldn't believe it 'til he saw the documents. Then, of course, he was happy."
Snowden was granted temporary political asylum in Russia on Thursday. He left the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow around 14:44 local time (10:00GMT). In spite of the fact that hundreds of reporters and correspondents from around the world were looking out, no one saw him leaving the airport.
His present location remains unknown, but his lawyer said expatriate Americans have granted him shelter.
Snowden would have to be careful about his movements in Russia. Moscow is reportedly "crawling" with CIA spies and he will also be very closely monitored by Russian agents.
Kucherena told reporters on Thursday that his location was being kept secret because he is one of the world's most wanted men. He said: "I have just seen him off. Security is a very serious matter for him."
New Republic reports Kucherena said Snowden almost exhausted his savings on lodging expenses at the Sheremetyevo transit hotel. He said: "He had some of his own money. But his father is coming [to Moscow] soon, his American lawyer is coming. He won't be left to face his fate alone. He has American friends here. So everything will be okay."
Questions are being asked in the media who his "American friends" are.
Meanwhile, the US government has reacted to the Russian government's decision to grant Snowden asylum, saying it is "extremely disappointed."
White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, said the US government was reconsidering Obama's participation in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg in September.
Americans have expressed reservations about Snowden's decision to stay in Russia, a traditional rival of the US. According to NPR, political science professor Jules Boykoff, of the Pacific University Oregon, said: "While he's not doing himself any favors with being in Russia, the alternatives are not very pleasant."
More about edward snowden, president Vladimir Putin, Anatoly Kucherena, Asylum, Nsa
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