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MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Edward Snowden, a former CIA and NSA contractor who leaked top-secret information about the US extensive surveillance program, may be able to obtain Russian citizenship in the coming years, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said.
"In the near future, he may formally file a request for Russian citizenship, but only he will decide this for himself," said Kucherena, who represents Snowden’s interests in Russia.
The attorney noted that under the Russian law, in order to get citizenship a person is required to live in the country for at least five years after receiving a residence permit. Snowden obtained his residence permit, which was valid for three years, in August 2014 and now the document has been extended until 2020.
According to the lawyer, Snowden is employed in the country as he is "law-abiding" resident and employment is one of the conditions of being granted a Russian residence permit. "He lives in Russia, works and travels," Kucherena said.
When asked if Snowden thinks about returning to the US, Kucherena said: "We always say that of course he is homesick. And certainly, his wish can be understood like that of any other person. However, given the current circumstances and policies by Obama who did not want to go into details on the matter and was held on a leash by US intelligence services - the CIA and the NSA - it is therefore impossible to even speak about getting a fair and unbiased trail (in his home country - TASS)," he said.
Edward Snowden is a computer specialist who worked as a contractor for the US National Security Agency and leaked details of its mass surveillance programs to the press in 2013. He fled to Hong Kong and subsequently flew to Moscow in order to head to Ecuador. However, he remained in Russia as the US revoked his passport.
Snowden was later granted temporary asylum in Russia after spending more than a month in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. He faces years of jail time in the US on espionage charges.