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Snowden growing accustomed to Russian life, waiting for father’s August arrival

Published time: August 06, 2013 18:07
Edited time: August 07, 2013 12:00
A protester carry a portrait of Edward Snowden during a demonstration against secret monitoring programmes PRISM, TEMPORA, INDECT and showing solidarity with whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and others in Berlin July 27, 2013.(Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski)

A protester carry a portrait of Edward Snowden during a demonstration against secret monitoring programmes PRISM, TEMPORA, INDECT and showing solidarity with whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and others in Berlin July 27, 2013.(Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski)

Edward Snowden remains in an undisclosed “safe place,” tasting local food and adjusting to Russian life, according to his lawyer. The NSA leaker is waiting for his father to arrive, who will help make decisions about Snowden's situation and security.

Snowden’s father is expected to arrive in Russia by the end of the month, after receiving an invitation from his son’s attorney, Anatoly Kucherena.

“The invitation was forwarded and it was accepted,” said Lon Snowden’s lawyer, Mattie Fein, as quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency. “I can’t tell you the exact date of his arrival, but it’s going to happen in August.”
 
Kucherena expressed hope on Tuesday that Lon Snowden will “get a visa in the next couple of days.” The same goes for Edward Snowden’s US attorney and several of his American friends, who received similar invitations to come to Russia.  

The legal representative stressed that Edward Snowden misses his family and is eagerly awaiting his father’s arrival.  

All the “important decisions” concerning everyday life and Snowden’s communication with the media will be “made during the family council,” the lawyer stressed.

Although Russia’s leading social network VKontakte offered the whistleblower a job in user data protection, Kucherena said “I don’t yet know where he’s going to work. He still has some money left.”

Snowden may also be invited to work as an expert for the Russian Parliament. Federation Council member Ruslan Gattarov said he is going to discuss the whistleblower’s “possible cooperation with a working group,” dealing with citizens' privacy rights and personal data security.

"First of all, we’ll be interested not in the facts of leaks themselves, but in the ways to improve our personal data protection," Gattarov explained. "Snowden will not work against the US, and will only help us protect the personal data of Russians."

Kucherena once again refused to disclose the whereabouts of his client, who left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport last Thursday after being granted asylum in Russia.

The attorney said that the 30-year-old remains “on the Russian territory” and was registered at a place of residence by the Federal Migration Service on Tuesday.   

“As for sight-seeing in Moscow and travelling across Russia, he has such desire, but he needs time to recover,” Kucherena said, adding that it will only happen if “the level of security is acceptable.”

Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena shows a picture of fugitive former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in his new refugee documents granted by Russia during a news conference in Moscow August 1, 2013. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

He added that Snowden is already growing accustomed to the regional cuisine.

“I brought him Khachapuri and he enjoyed it,”
the lawyer said. Khachapuri is a popular Georgian dish consisting of flatbread and cheese.

The attorney said that he’s going to deliver more books to Snowden’s “safe place” after the whistleblower read “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and began learning the Russian language.

Snowden was granted a one-year asylum in Russia last Thursday, finally leaving the confines of the airport where he had been holed up since June 23.

By accepting the documents, he agreed that he would not commit any future leaks against Washington. Russian President Vladimir Putin previously warned “that any activity of his that could damage US-Russian relations is unacceptable for [Russia].”

The residence permit allows the former CIA employee - whose US passport has been revoked - to work and freely travel all across Russia. The whistleblower is wanted in the US on espionage charges after revealing secret NSA surveillance programs to the public.

Snowden’s asylum can be renewed indefinitely on an annual basis. However, it will be terminated if the NSA leaker leaves Russian territory.

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