Snowden in Russia
by Stephen Lendman
Snowden remains in Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport transit zone limbo. Russia's his safest option.
Traveling elsewhere's too risky. It's hazardous. He's seeking temporary asylum. Odds are he'll get it.
Moscow won't extradite him. It has no treaty obligation to do so. Washington never repatriated Russian defectors. Heavy US pressure's exerted anyway.
Few countries resist. Few push back effectively. China can do it. So can Russia. On the one hand, Putin values good relations. On the other, he won't be bullied.
Supporting Snowden's politically advantageous. According to Der Spiegel:
His activist status largely united a "deeply divided society. Whether conservative or liberal, anti- or pro-American, Putin supporter or opponent - they have all voiced support for granting (him) asylum."
Expect Putin to take full advantage. He has plenty of domestic problems. Snowden changes the subject. Supporting him's politically beneficial.
At the same time, he'll be diplomatically careful. It shows in his comments. Der Spiegel believes Kremlin officials are involved. They're helping Snowden. They wouldn't be without official authorization.
"Moscow-based lawyers and politicians close to the government" arranged his meeting with human rights groups. He needed their help to do it.
"Snowden (will) stay in Russia." It's just a matter of working things out.
On July 16, Voice of Russia headlined "Russia to give Snowden freedom of movement," saying:
He'll "be able to move across Russian territory while Moscow looks into his bid for political asylum."
"An informed police source told reporters a special permit will be issued for the American intelligence leaker, stranded in a no-man