Why was Edward Snowden granted Russian citizenship?

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Main topic: Humanities
Other topics: Russia, Edward Snowden
Short answer: No particular reason was given, but the decree granting Snowden citizenship included the names of 72 people, suggesting that it wasn't solely directed at him. Some have speculated that the decree was a provocation to the U.S.

On September 26, 2022, President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting 72 people Russian citizenship, including Edward Snowden, the U.S.-born intelligence consultant who leaked highly classified documents from the NSA and other U.S. agencies in 2013.[1] His wife is also applying for Russian citizenship, according to their family lawyer.[2]

Edward Snowden.

The decree does not mention why Snowden was granted citizenship[edit]

The degree signed by Putin included 72 names. Snowden was the most prominent, but the decree does not go into detail with regards to the reasoning for each particular name.

Even then, some have speculated that the decree was done as a form of provocation to the U.S.[3], whose federal government still is prosecuting Snowden and considers him a fugitive.

Snowden suggested he applied for citizenship to avoid being separated from his sons[edit]

On Twitter, Edward Snowden himself suggested that the applied for citizenship because his sons are native-born Russians and he did not want to risk being separated from them. Risks of separation could include a change to laws and regulations regarding permanent residency or covid. He wrote on September 26, 2022[4]:

After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our SONS. After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family. I pray for privacy for them—and for us all.


  1. "Putin grants Russian citizenship to U.S. whistleblower Snowden". Reuters. 2022-09-27. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  2. "Putin grants citizenship to Edward Snowden, who exposed U.S. surveillance". Washington Post. 2022-09-26. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  3. Charter, David. "Russia grants citizenship to Edward Snowden". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  4. "Snowden Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2022-09-27.