Political analysts believe Snowden was desperate when he came to Russia from Hong Kong and that his possible reapplication for political asylum will draw a line under the affair. However, Russia could face political problems if Moscow accepts his request.
Political analyst Patrick Henningsen told RT that Snowden’s reapplication for asylum may mean the end of the saga as far as the US goes – meaning the whistleblower will not leak anymore information which might harm US national security interests.
He added that while Snowden has been offered asylum by three Latin American countries, they cannot offer him the same safety that Russia can.
“[There are] safety issues in places like Ecuador or Venezuela. [They are] not nearly as secure and don’t have the political cover and muscle that Russia would provide to someone like Snowden.But having said that, it is almost politically untenable for Russia to be sheltering such a high profile individual in this instance,” Henningsen said.
Snowden’s comments which state that the whistleblower hopes “America will succeed” are unclear, according to Henningsen. He added that such statements may mean that Snowden hopes the US will reform its surveillance practices which are now public knowledge.
Author and journalist Afshin Rattansi told RT of his surprise that Russia is even considering giving Snowden political asylum.
He added that if Snowden is granted asylum in Russia, it would be almost impossible for Washington to then stop him from traveling onwards to South America.
“His travel to Latin America would be a good deal safer [if he was granted asylum in Russia]. I don’t think President Obama would shoot down a plane or hijack it if it was carrying someone with Russian asylum papers, or at least presumably that is the theory,” Rattansi said.
But James Petras, an author and professor at Birmingham University in the UK, believes that Snowden would, in fact, find it very hard to fly out of Russia.
“Snowden would have great difficulties flying out of Russia because the ways of moving to Venezuela would be prohibited. I think his decision to seek asylum in Russia is a practical one,” he told RT.
Aleksandr Nekrassov, a political commentator based in London, believes Snowden is desperate - and Russia is his last hope.
“If you want to really resolve your problems, you don’t call human rights activists, you ask diplomats and politicians to conduct talks behind the scenes,” he told RT.
Nekrassov added that Snowden is not a whistleblower in the true sense of the word because he didn’t reveal anything that was not already known, at least by governments.
“There is nothing new that we didn’t know. This spying went on for decades and the Americans actually invented the internet to spy on others,” he stated.
He also said that Snowden is “a big headache” for the Kremlin which they would rather not have to deal with.