Former NSA contractor and famous whistle-blower Edward Snowden was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir, as reported by the state-run news agency TASS on Monday.
His name was included on a list of 71 other foreigners who also became citizens.
Snowden applied for citizenship alongside his wife in 2020 after receiving permanent residency rights, citing a desire not to be separated from his sons.
“After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family,” he tweeted on Monday. “I pray for privacy for them—and for us all.”
Snowden has been living in exile in Moscow for years after exposing classified files revealing the National Security Agency (NSA)’s vast surveillance operations affecting millions of Americans in 2013. He has been charged with espionage and faces over 30 years in prison.
According to Snowden’s lawyer Anatoliy Kucherena, the whistleblower is still not eligible for conscription into the war against Ukraine since he has not served in the Russian army.
Snowden has previously expressed support for Bitcoin, but also noted that the cryptocurrency has critical privacy issues. He was personally involved with creating the privacy coin Zcash, and is a vocal opponent of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
The Russian government has shown interest in Bitcoin as a means of international trade – but has banned cryptocurrencies from domestic use as a means of exchange.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump did not include Edward Snowden among a list of pardoned individuals at the end of his presidency. Trump called for the contractor’s execution years ago but also claimed later that he’d look into pardoning Snowden.
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