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Snowden cannot leave transit zone yet, question not solved

July 24, 2013, 18:39 UTC+3

Kucherena said, though, that Snowden wants to find a job in Russia

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MOSCOW, July 24 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden cannot leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit zone yet as no document allowing him to do so has so far been issued by the Federal Migration Service, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said on Wednesday, July 24.

“The question has not been solved yet… Snowden took it with understanding,” he said after a meeting with the man at the airport.

Kucherena said, though, that Snowden wants to find a job in Russia.

The lawyer said he had brought Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” to Snowden. He thinks “he [Snowden] should read it, especially about Raskolnikov.”

“I am not talking about the similarity of inner contradictions,” Kucherena told Russia 24 television, adding that he had brought Chekhov’s works “for dessert.”

The lawyer entered the airport’s transit zone through the entrance used by personnel only, carrying a large bag, in which he said there were “a pair of jeans and a couple of T-shirts for Snowden.”

Snowden arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport from Hong Kong on June 23 and has been staying in its transition zone since then. He has applied for temporary asylum in Russia.

Earlier he had passed to the press information about mass electronic surveillance by the U.S. authorities under the PRISM programme and claimed that American security services watched and recorded people’s actions and conversations even if they did nothing wrong.

He said security services were gathering information primarily about the users of popular search servers and social networks.

His stay in Russia has evoked a controversial reaction in the United States. Secretary of State John Kerry called for “calm and reasonableness” in dealing with the Snowden issue.

“We would hope that Russia would not side with someone who is a fugitive from justice. We’re not looking for a confrontation. We are not ordering anybody,” Kerry said.

The U.S. government keeps insisting on Snowden’s extradition. However Most Russians think that Moscow should not extradite Snowden to the United States, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM).

The poll was conducted on July 14 in 43 regions of Russia and involved 1,500 respondents. The margin of error does not exceed 3.6 percent.

“Thirty-nine of respondents believe that Russia should not extradite Snowden to the American authorities,” the FOM said on Wednesday, July 17.

At the same time, 18 percent of those polled think that Snowden should be extradited to the United States. Fifty-nine percent are not aware of who Snowden is.

About 27 percent of Russians think that Russia should give political asylum to Snowden, while 23 percent are of the opinion that Moscow should not do this. One in two respondents was undecided.

Commenting on the issue of Snowden’s possible extradition to the United States, President Vladimir Putin said earlier: “Mr. Snowden is a free man, and the sooner he chooses his final destination the better it is for us and for him. I hope it will not affect the business-like character of our relations with the U.S. and I hope that our partners will understand that.”

Snowden will leave Russia as soon as such an opportunity presents itself but the situation remains unclear, Putin said.

“It is in limbo right now but as soon as he has an opportunity to move elsewhere he will certainly do so,” he said. “He knows the terms of granting political asylum and, judging from his latest statements, he is changing his position, but the situation is not completely clear yet.”

The United States has basically blocked Snowden in Russia by not letting other countries allow him to travel through their territories, the president said. “He arrived in our territory without invitation. He was travelling to other countries as a transit passenger. But as soon as he was airborne and this became known, our American partners had basically blocked his further movement,” Putin said.

“They also frightened all other countries and no one wants to receive him. So they have basically blocked him on our territory,” he added.

When asked about Snowden’s further fate, Putin replied: “How should I know? It’s his life and his fate.”

“After all he wants to move to a place of permanent residence and wants to live permanently elsewhere,” the president said.

He recalled that Snowden had been offered to stay in Russia on condition that he stopped his political activities. “We have certain relations with the United States and we do not want your activities to damage our relations with the U.S. He said no. You are laughing but I am being serious. He said he wanted to continue his activities, he wanted to fight for human rights and he thought that the U.S. violated certain norms of international law and interfered in private life, and his goal was to fight that. We said: do so but without us. We have other things to fight,” Putin said.

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