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MOSCOW, August 3 (Itar-Tass Political Analysis Centre) - Temporary asylum was granted to former CIA technology analyst Edward Snowden at the background of a trial, which was launched in the United States against WikiLeaks informant Bradley Manning. He was found guilty for several heinous crimes. The severest charge against him of the aiding to the enemy of the United States was lifted from him that was estimated as a success of his lawyer, but he can be sentenced to up to 136 years in prison by cumulation of other charges.
Director General of the Centre of Political Information Alexei Mukhin believes that the trial against Manning has strengthened a humane attitude of the Russian authorities towards Snowden, though his staying in Russia certainly poses a risk to the country.
“The United States, giving guarantees to Snowden not to use tortures against him and rejecting a possible capital punishment verdict to him, gave way, as Manning is facing a sentence of up to 136 years in prison. Snowden faces a similar fate in case of extradition to the U.S.,” he said with confidence.
Essayist Israel Shamir told the Itar-Tass Political Analysis Centre from Sweden by phone that the U.S. wanted to show the uselessness of resistance by the trial against Manning. “You cannot do anything against us, we are ruling totally. There was Manning, who tried to do something and now he will be sentenced to 25 years or something like that. They have such policy. And at that moment Snowden is permitted to leave the Sheremetyevo airport, so, it means that they are not controlling everything in the world. So, a person can fly to Moscow and stay safe and sound. This is a big frustration for the U.S.,” he noted.
In the view of Shamir, Snowden is certainly a hero. “You and me side with a concrete party, but we are not somewhere above the fray. Is Kim Philby a hero or a traitor? For some people he is a traitor, for others he is a hero!” he said with confidence.
Meanwhile, Shamir believes that Snowden did even more than a famous Soviet spy Kim Philby. “He did not plan it, but he managed to do more,” he said.
On the contrary, Professor of the Russian State University of Humanities Sergei Chernyakhovsky is sure that Snowden committed an act of betrayal and the country, which he betrayed can chase him down. “On the other hand, Russia cannot extradite him, because the country is self-sufficient. Our natural position is not to extradite him. Moreover, people, who committed the offences of the same severity, are not extradited to Russia from the West. For instance, they refused to search for Browder through the Interpol recently (on Friday, July 26 - Itar-Tass eds),” he told the Itar-Tass Political Analysis Centre.
In the view of Chernyakhovsky, the situation with Snowden is complicated by the fact that he had made public a new part of exposing materials. “Certainly, Kucherena said that the materials were passed earlier and do not violate the terms of his stay in Russia. But it is hard to check it. Therefore, it is needed to proceed from the sense of the conditions, but not their shape. Or it is needed to proceed from the interests of the country,” he believes.
In the view of the political expert, Russia’s interest is not to extradite Snowden, because Russia positions itself as a territory of freedom. “It can be said as a joke about a totalitarian U.S. rule, which pursues all people and put into practice Orwell’s anti-utopia (the novel 1984 - eds Itar-Tass). All the same Russia is not interested in the moral justification of betrayal, moreover, the betrayal of an agent of the security services. People, who find themselves having a right to commit punishable acts and then are waiting for protection on the basis of their good intentions, evoke nothing but astonishment,” he remarked.
Chernyakhovsky compared Snowden’s scandalous activity with the actionism of the punk band Pussy Riot. “The manner to stir up a scandal and lodge information against someone evokes a negative response. In some way Snowden acts like Pussy Riot: I will fan up a scandal and so they should protect me, because I self-actualized. Snowden has done the same act of performance,” he said with confidence.
Director of the Franklyn Roosevelt Centre for U.S. Studies Yuri Rogulev recalled that the situation with Snowden is developing in view of Obama’s forthcoming visit in Moscow.
“Certainly, the background turns out to be not quite friendly. But Russia should not extradite anyone to the United States, the two countries do not have any agreements to this effect. Moreover, Snowden came to our country himself and asked for asylum. He will be recalled about over Obama’s visit in Moscow, but it seems to me that this factor should not affect the conclusion of serious agreements between Russia and the United States. Vladimir Putin said that it is an affair the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Security Service should deal with. Obama was speaking about it in similar way,” he told the Itar-Tass Political Analysis Centre.
In the view of Rogulev, the trial against Manning has brought more sympathy to Snowden. “When a young man, who committed a not quite good act, is put on trial, but he faces 136 years in prison, this fact finds its proper reflection in the public opinion. Moreover, in European countries. By the way, more critical remarks are made to the newspaper The Guardian, which published Snowden’s materials, but did not contribute to his defence and even did not state on the issue,” he said.