Russian Social Media Site Quick to Offer Snowden a Job After Temporary Asylum Granted

Edward Snowden

VKontakte, the country's biggest social media site, asks whistleblower to protect the "personal data" of millions of its users.

MOSCOW – Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia's most popular social media site, VKontakte, has offered a job to Edward Snowden, the US former spy agency whistleblower.

Durov's job offer came within hours of Snowden leaving the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after being granted temporary asylum by Russian on Thursday.

Snowden, who had been trapped in the airport since June 23 after the US revoked his passport,  managed to slip away virtually unnoticed to an undisclosed location in an ordinary taxi - the only TV images broadcast so far were blurry shots on state channel Rossiya 24.

But the VKontakte founder was fast to inform the world that Snowden's skills could help ordinary Russians.

Durov posted the job offer on his personal page on VKontakte, - a Russian copycat of Facebook that controversially also offers its 40-50 million users the ability to download music and videos free of charge.

He invited Snowden to VKontakte's St Petersburg headquarters saying he would "be happy if he decides to join our stellar team of programmers."

Vkontakte --  which means 'in contact'  -- was the most popular Internet company in Europe, Durove boasted, adding: "I think Edward might be interested in protecting the personal data of millions of our users."

Durov's post had received nearly 16,000 likes and been shared more than 3,000 times by Friday.

There was, however, no sign that Snowden had been informed of the offer or responded.  Media reports said that he had gone to a safe location to stay American expatriates living in Russia.

The US reacted angrily to Russia's action. White House press spokesman Jay Carney made it clear President Obama was frustrated by the decision and suggested that a presidential summit with President Vladimir Putin planned during the G20 meeting in St Petersburg next month could be in jeopardy.

"This is not a positive development," Carney told reporters. "We have a wide rang of interests with the Russians. We are evaluating the utility of the summit."