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MOSCOW – NSA-leaker Edward Snowden was granted a three-year residence permit in Russia today and will be able to apply for a Russian citizenship in five years.
Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena announced the decision made by the federal migration service (FMS) at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday afternoon.
“Speaking about [Snowden’s] subsequent status, he will be now free to travel abroad for a period of up to three months,” he said.
According to Kucherena, Snowden did not apply for political asylum in Russia. “We are not talking about political asylum here. We are talking about temporary residence,” he said. “Political asylum is a totally different procedure. It is granted by a presidential decree.”
Snowden, who raised controversy last summer when he leaked a number of classified documents to the press, arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in late June 2013 and spent more than five weeks at the airport’s transit zone before obtaining temporary asylum, which allowed him to enter Russian territory.
As Snowden’s story came to public attention, it almost immediately attracted filmmakers. Last September, a parody character based on Snowden was featured in the U.S. cartoon series South Park, bringing the ratings of the episode, Let Go, Let Gov, to a two-year high.
Classified: The Edward Snowden Story, a Canadian independent movie centered on the former NSA contractor’s story, is slated for release this September.
In June 2014, director Oliver Stone had bought the rights to Kucherena’s novel based on Snowden’s life and will use it alongside Luke Harding‘s nonfiction book, The Snowden Files, as a basis for the screenplay of his movie, which is due to begin production later this year.
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