After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That's why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we're applying for dual US-Russian citizenship. https://t.co/cCgT0rr37e
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 1, 2020
Well, good for Snowden on making use of Russia’s reformed citizenship laws, which as of April 2020 no longer obligate you to give up your previous citizenship in return for a Russian one.
It also legally rules out the possibility of Russia extraditing him back to the US, remote as the possibility may be right now.
Here is how Julia Ioffe projected Snowden’s life in Russia turning out back in 2013:
The reality that lies before Snowden, however, is not that of a Petersburg slum or a cherry orchard. More likely, he will be given an apartment somewhere in the endless, soulless highrises with filthy stairwells that spread like fields around Moscow’s periphery. He will live there for five years before he will be given citizenship. He’ll likely be getting constant visits from the SVR (the Russian NSA) to mine the knowledge he carries in his brain. Maybe, he will be given a show on Russia Today, alongside the guy who got him into this pickle to begin with, Julian Assange. Or he, like repatriated Russian spy Anna Chapman, might be given a fake job at a state-friendly bank where he will do nothing but draw a salary. (Chapman, by the way, recently tweeted this at Snowden: “Snowden, will you marry me?!”) Maybe he will marry a Russian woman, who will quickly shed her supple, feminine skin and become a tyrant, and every dark winter morning, Snowden will sit in his tiny Moscow kitchen, drinking Nescafe while Svetlana cooks something greasy and tasteless, and he will sit staring into his black instant coffee, hating her.
But I digress.
But tell us how you really feel, Julia. 🙂
Well, she was right on the citizenship question, though off by 2-3 years. Not so much on the rest. Though I can hardly claim to have any kind of connection to Snowden, a couple of acquaintances who are familiar with his acquaintances tell me he lives in picturesque central Moscow and hangs out with a bunch of hippy types who are conscientious about keeping him sheltered from the press. He does not seem to have expressed any interest in a public media profile. Besides instant black coffee, he has access to a world-class gastronomic scene, and while the winter weather in Moscow is indeed cold and gloomy, a Mediterranean climate and mountain skiing are just a $50 flight to Sochi away.
The funny if sad thing is that seven years on, it is Julia Ioffe who has become the female version of her own bitter fantasies with respect to Snowden.
Julia Ioffe in 2010 vs. recently.