An executive order signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to a person born in the United States on June 21, 1983. That person is NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to AP News.
The 39-year-old American gained political asylum in 2013 after leaking to the public about the US National Security Agency's PRISM and XKeyscore spying programs.
Snowden quit his job as an NSA agent in May 2013 under the guise of receiving treatment for his epilepsy and traveled to Hong Kong, where he released the documents and was interviewed by The Guardian.
To escape American justice, he fled to Moscow and sought asylum in various countries through the Sheremetyevo airport area. On August 1, 2013, the Putin government granted Snowden temporary asylum for one year and allowed him to leave the airport.
On August 7, 2014, six days after the temporary asylum ended, the Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, announced that he had received a three-year residence permit.
Snowden became a permanent resident in 2020, and said he would apply for Russian citizenship without giving up his US citizenship.
A former CIA agent and a former NSA agent were among the foreigners who received Russian passports by the Kremlin's executive order on Monday. Putin has the power to grant citizenship to foreigners, as well as political asylum, under Article 89 of the Russian Constitution.
Snowden, who does not pay to speak and sell books, has not commented on the Russian invasion of Ukraine since it began in February.