Edward Snowden, the former contractor with the National Security Agency who made headlines when he leaked highly classified information in 2013, has been granted Russian citizenship under a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin. Snowden was one of many foreigners granted Russian citizenship in the decree, filed on a Russian government portal. He is listed as the 53rd person in the document. Snowden and his wife had applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, a month after he was granted permanent residency.

The 39-year-old Snowden leaked an estimated 1.7 million intelligence files used in reporting by journalists and faces espionage charges along with 30 years in prison in the United States if he were to return. However, his U.S. passport has been revoked.

After the leak, Snowden first fled from the United States to Hong Kong briefly; and has been living in Russia since June 2013, where he reportedly has worked for a Russian IT company. He has maintained a relatively low profile in Russia over the years, but routinely posts on his Twitter account.

Editorial credit: Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

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