I hope that he will be able to have a good life in Russia, in peace and security. And that his deed will inspire future whistleblowers.
We have to be careful not to associate concepts like "freedom of speech" and "example of democracy" with countries like Russia, given the actual situation the people there live under I am not sure we can say Russia holds human rights in the highest regard in my opinion.
Who knows though, once the Arctic ice sheets melt maybe that position will become more important than it appears.
Think Osama bin Laden granting asylum to Snowden in some remote Taliban camp.
Give me a break. Nobody moves back to Russia, because they are free to smoke at the pubs there.
I was also born in Russia and 3 years ago, I spent a year there. It is just as shit country as it has always been. Nothing changed. It's got some new paint on the facade.
But that is somehow bad, eh? o_O
P.S. Hey, Alex, why stop at Osama?! You forgot to mention Hitler! That would be more dramatic, and equally cheap brainwashing tactic.
I only disagree with a minor detail you mentioned -- there would be no difference if he was female, because in Russia there is no discrimination against women (at least not more then in any Western country).
I never thought otherwise.
It was more of an emperor-has-no-clothes moment than some unexpected, shocking revelation. It forced a lot of people to stop avoiding the problem and to actually start talking about it openly.
I have been downvoted already on the parent post, but coming from an European country that experienced dictatorship for 41 years, I have a tendency to not believe in politicians.
Many fellow Europeans had to endure similar governments in the last century.
So how could in the land of free, citizens expect it would be any different?!
It's a serious question.
However tries to change the system, either becomes one of them or ends up being forced to leave with consequences from not playing with the rest of the gang.
Everyone seems to hate politicians, yet we rely on them.
And in theory, they're acting as our proxies.
Why does this seemingly good situation turn out so badly?
(I don't know, per se. I know a number of theories. I'm mulling them over, like a fine wine or whisky or whatever it is that one mulls.)
Does anybody have any more information on that?
Seriously, if you're going to fight a war fight an economic war, much less destructive to other people than the little proxy wars the big boys seems to love so much.
But otherwise... "same as it ever was."
When a war ends without the politics being settled, the seed of conflict remains.
However, most either people lack this longer term vision and falsely perceive a physical wins as an ultimate "victory", or don't care because they won't be around then.
"This isn't a peace, it's a twenty year truce!" - Ferdinand Foch, regarding the Treaty of Versailles
As an aside, the U.S's failure to predict the Collapse of the USSR was probably their greatest intelligence failure, with the consequence being Russia beginning a hurtling into the Abyss, arrested by Putin, and a partial reversal of the Democratic trend of Gorbachev. I don't think Demonizing Putin is really going to be helpful. Ignorance of the historical circumstances of Russia brought him in power is analogous to the belief that a Utopian Democracy could simply be imposed on Iraq from above. Take a Spherical Cow in a Vacuum, add some Democracy...
You make a really good point here.
It's not that there's a conspiracy, or they censored themselves. There's simply zero reward in pursuing any path that leads to the conclusion that one's job is obsolete or soon will be.
With a minor caveat, I guess. Those who can figure it out without much effort will then be those who seek new employment before it happens. It's hard to predict these things however.
Foch was proven right. It must have been maddening for him to know the truth of the situation, but be over-ruled by popular sentiment toward ending a disastrous and suicidal war.
This makes me want to reconsider all of my own knowledge of course, because as your examples illustrate, it's possible that there is something worse than being wrong, and it is to not notice something important.
Just as Italy replied to Snowden that he should have brought the request personally, our ministry of immigration finds excuses like "the procedure takes time..."
Putin already said that he won't send him to a country where he may be sentenced to death. So even in that case, he probably won't be sent to the US but to some other country than grants asylum to him.
... so it seems RT popped their cork too early. Explains why the Guardian didn't cover this yet.
"Federal migration service has not issued documents allowing Edward Snowden to leave the airport yet, there was a misinformation today in the media, said Kucherena."
(well, maybe 'almost all' rather than 'all.')
Putin is a man of his word, and expects the same from Snowden.
Information may continue to leak, but not from Snowden. His part of the show is finished (and luckily for him, he's not even bruised!).
Can you elaborate on that? Any concrete examples of how they were doing this?
From the same Putin's regime we hear the same about the US, although just guesses, no facts. I'm curious how the west sees that.
Its not a rigorous example, but I think the front page of RT (the Russian - state backed media outlet) is a good example. Most of the US based stories are highly critical of the US government. It's also no coincidence that Julian Assange has his own show on RT.
I also believe Russia's backing of Assad is mostly an attempt to block Western influence in the middle east. But there's probably a number of reason and thats just one.
In my opinion, being exiled from your home and living the rest of your life with the world superpower ready to kidnap you is relatively bruising.
The only thing I hold against him is his failure, as promised, to hang Georgian president by his balls. Eating necktie is a weak substitute.
For one random example (not being a huge student of 21st century Russia), he promised Bush that he wasn't arming Saddam's troops. Turned out they were outfitted with a lot of Russian anti-tank and night vision gear when we got there.
That doesn't say anything about Russia arming Saddam's troops. I'm sure there are a lot of cases U.S. arming their "allies" and then these weapons in some way became available to terrorists...
I simply don't think it is possible to know and predict how and by whom weapons will be used.
It's a he said, she said, of course.
Remember, he comes from the KGB, eventually rising to be the FSB director (the KGB successor).
Once he's left Russia, I suspect he'll be able to continue his activities.
Why do you think Russia is a much better choice for him then China?
Snowden won't be doing much traveling. The second he shows up in a country that cooperates with the US or boards a flight, he's going to get picked up. I think he's going to be traveling by wheel from now on.
I am simultaneously outraged and not in the least surprised. Just curious -- do you have a source for this?
What is surreal to me is that a spy turned into a celebrity in the first place.
I'll be honest, Im struggling to think of one.
But unfortunately it won't :-/
Essentially, our government does not want Snowden to enter Germany.
But legally, he doesn't have a very clear-cut case: The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees which is the legal framework for asylum, defines the criteria as having a well-founded fear of persecution because of one's race,
religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.
The only category that might fit is "political opinion", but holding a certain political opinion is not a license to commit a crime (which, unambiguously, Snowden is guilty of), especially when laws against the exact same activity is on the books in the countries he's applying to.
Has it not been for the much too heavy-handed treatment of Manning, he couldn't even claim fear of prosecution: getting a fair trial in a court of law isn't prosecution.
Getting a fair trial in court most certainly involves prosecution:
prosecution n. 1) in criminal law, the government attorney charging and trying the case against a person accused of a crime. 2) a common term for the government's side in a criminal case, as in "the prosecution will present five witnesses" or "the prosecution rests" (completed its case). (See: prosecute, prosecutor)
please don't use url obfuscators on hn.
NSA-like spying is probably the most reliable in history, but how the information gets transformed on the way to decision makers, and what democratic control we have probably leaves a lot to be desired and must improve. Snowden is a hero because his actions have given us incentive and data to improve the world of secret services.
"My enemy's enemy is my friend".
I'm sure there's a concise Russian saying for this.
AFAIK, the only borders which aren't demarked as such are those which ramble across incredibly inhospitable desert, which serves the same purpose as razor wire and mines.
Also, all that I see on Google Maps satellite images is farmland without any visible security on both sides of the border.
(for example: https://www.google.com/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d8021!2d...)
Re: the link you've posted, that's one of the aforementioned "so inhospitable it doesn't matter" areas. I've been to Aktobe (just down the road from your link), and it's indescribable how butt-fuck nowhere it is. ~£20 for a salad that wouldn't fill a mouse, but £0.02 for a bottle of vodka and a steak. Oh and there's a bowling alley with DDR. Go figure. Nothing grows out there. 52 C in the summer, -30 C in the winter. An over-land trip by foot through that area is death. Here are two photos of that neck of the woods - welcome to check the EXIF. http://imgur.com/kFvjXHy,B16ieLf
The other outstanding feature of Russian borders is the wreckage of failed crossing attempts - there's always the winning combination of burned out cars in fields surrounding any crossing point, along with a cemetery for those who didn't make it across. They take their border security seriously. Getting a gun pointed at you is standard procedure.
Again, you're more than welcome to argue with someone who's actually been across Russian land borders, on many occasions, but that's your prerogative entirely.
Ukraine/Russia (farmland): https://www.google.com/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d4036!2d...
So lets recap: You are unable to produce any proof. Nothing can be seen on satellite imagery. There is no mention of minefields and fences on Wikipedia or any other credible source.
MILE WIDE !!! MINEFIELDS !!!
May be the confusion is with USA-Mexico border? o_O
The notion that Russia is beholden to Snowden to protect its image is ludicrous, although given the grandiosity of some of Snowden's statements, I do not hesitate to consider that Snowden himself might believe it.
Russia protecting human rights? OMFG
That he is still alive, well, mentally sound, able to freely speak to journalists (and American politicians) at free will -- and finally now "free" to leave the airport is evidence that he's been wise in making decisions.
> Russia protecting human rights? OMFG
That is an irrelevant and uninformed statement with regards to Snowden's situation and his decision to seek asylum in Russia. It was very simply one of the few rational options to pursue in order for him to remain a 'free man', as has been made abundantly clear by now.
cnnbrk: Lawyer: Snowden hasn't yet received document that
would allow him outside of Moscow airport.
He is no threat to Russia or Putin what so ever. All the information he has is out or in the hands of others. On top of that, Putin is hardly likely to do anything to him apart from send him to the US as some sort of present, since the worlds media will be watching.
Seem to me a lot of this FSB ownership stuff is prejudiced (pre-judged) scare mongering, and simply designed to undermine Snowden and his actions.
I see no reason for the FSB to "control" Snowden at all. Monitor, of course, but who wouldn't? Even if the UK gave him asylum, we'd monitor his whereabouts.
So does the United States of America.
The United States government wants to make an example out of Snowden. There's no way he would serve just two years in prison.
AP president Gary Pruitt: "Longtime sources have stopped talking to the Associated Press in response to the Obama administration’s secret seizure of the wire service’s phone records. This chilling effect is not just at AP, it’s happening at other news organizations as well. Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me it has intimidated sources from speaking to them."
Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News Chuck Todd: "You end up essentially criminalizing journalism when it comes to reporting on the federal government, particularly on national security. You know, I’ve had different conversations with people over the last week who are sitting there not quite comfortable having certain conversations on the phone."
Would it stretch your moral intellect to google any of the above? The US has successfully criminalized real journalism so there is no need to kill. Not a whole lot better.
I would also like to address your "some chilling effects" comment. Investigative reporters are only as good as their sources and the sources have been silenced. That's a nuclear winter, not "some chilling effects".
Meta: is it really necessary to imply that whomever you are responding to is lacking in intellectual capacity? What's with all the "would it stretch your intellect to...", "one can think x without drawing a parallel to y..." and so on. If your arguments are strong, let them stand on their own.
I remember that prior to the invasion of Iraq, the US said that any journalist that is not embedded with US troops is fair game. That does sound like they didn't mind killing journalists they don't control.
This attitude also clearly shows in the bombing of the Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad, Bush's 2004 idea of bombing the Al Jazeera HQ in Qatar, or the attack on the Palestine Hotel.
The quote you're likely thinking of was from then-Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke literally as Baghdad was falling:
Pentagon spokeswoman Clarke said of Baghdad on Tuesday, "It is not a safe place. You should not be there." 
Whether journalists thought it would be a good idea to hang out in Baghdad while it was under coalition assault, the Bush administration clearly thought that would be an unsafe thing to do. That doesn't mean they "didn't mind killing journalists they don't control" or that they claimed anything about journalists being "fair game".
Edit: Saw another comment and did some more digging. Found a great article which I'll quote some of. You can find a link to it below.
"On April 8, 2003, during the US-led invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayoub was killed when a US warplane bombed Al Jazeera's headquarters in Baghdad."
"Disturbingly, more journalists were murdered in targeted killings in Iraq than died in combat-related circumstances, according to the group Committee to Protect Journalists."
""Between 2003 and 2010 more than 30 Iraqi journalists were detained and held in prisons in Iraq by the Americans," she explained. "All of these journalists were arbitrarily arrested by the Americans, just as they continue to be arrested by the Iraqi government today.""
I certainly won't believe it until you give me a name of a journalist who was killed because the U.S. government didn't like his or her reporting. A giant wall of links to such 'evidence' as the Wikipedia page on the Iraq war doesn't impress me, nor does your later link, from which you decided to pull a quote about "targeted killings" without bothering to figure out that the people doing the "targeting" weren't Americans.
Do you want me to write it again? Tareq Ayoub
And to stall your obvious response. No, he was not targeted directly but when you bomb a news organization's headquarters one of the things that is going to turn up in the rubble is dead journalists. What's that you say? They didn't mean to target a news organization? Wooopsies. I must have missed the heartfelt apology.
Why don't you try reading that page minus your reality distortion filter goggles? Here, I'll post the link again. http://www.aljazeera.com/humanrights/2013/04/201348120278145... This time, though, why don't you try to read what it says rather than inventing what it says.
How about the first sentence, "On April 8, 2003, during the US-led invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayoub was killed when a US warplane bombed Al Jazeera's headquarters in Baghdad."
So what you're trying to say is that a US warplane is not an American warplane? Have I got that right? Does your head not get a bit sore what with all the cognitive dissonance going on up in there?
How about another couple of quotes? "CPJ research shows that 'at least 150 journalists and 54 media support workers were killed in Iraq from the US-led invasion in March 2003 to the declared end of the war in December 2011.'"
"'The media were not welcome by the US military,' Soazig Dollet, who runs the Middle East and North Africa desk of Reporters Without Borders told Al Jazeera. 'That is really obvious.'"
You may not want to believe it but it's true nonetheless.
Here's a great documentary and book on how we were lied into the Iraq war. It's called Hubris: Selling the Iraq War. Watch it.
I did give you a name, Tareq Ayoub, a journalist that was killed by U.S. bombs when we bombed Al Jazeera's headquarters in Baghdad.
You really assume that Obama would commute Snowden's sentence? Really?
I'm not supporting such actions of any president.
I haven't seen definite evidence on Putin's involvement. Yes, there's some suspicion. Do you have good evidence?
And what crystal ball are you using to predict the out come of a hypothetical trial?
Always found it odd (possibly ironic?) that he left to countries infamous for not being well known for their love of free speech. Then again as one poster here put it, where else would he go that isn't as restrictive and doesn't have an extradition treaty with the U.S.?
Wonder if this will inspire whistle blowers in Russia now?
> Wonder if this will inspire whistle blowers in Russia now?
And what kind of secrets, unknown to the Russian public are you thinking about? Whistleblowing is about informing the citizen about secret actions made by the state (or rich company) that shows corruption or lies. If the action is not secret, then there is nothing to blow about. If the state do not deny spying or corruption, then what can the whistleblower say? "Oooo, look! What the government says is correct, and they are indeed doing what they say they are" aren't exactly whistleblowing. News maybe, but not whistleblowing. The government have to first claim to be the land of the free before someone can contradict them on it.
Unfortunately, the story here in the media has boiled down to international spying scandal, the original statement - that it violates some US constitution amendment - has been forgotten.
In any case I hope he stays safe and I thank him for his sacrifice.
By complicated I mainly meant the countries he does not have to fly over.
Out of the frying pan, into the fire!
And black people are certainly still widely discriminated against and treated unfairly in the United States. Have you ever heard of Trayvon Martin? The incarceration rates of blacks versus whites? The Republican Party? Its leader, Rush Limbaugh? Voter suppression? The Southern Strategy? I could go on and on. Do you believe that racism is no longer an issue in the United States, because your glorious leader Rush Limbaugh told you so?
Edit: I just found some additional sources.
His knowledge is very likely still valuable and he could turn into traitor any day and Russia would take good care of him. He would get money, pension, citizenship and nice Datcha to live in. He is this predicament because he has not given up his principles.
It's hard to know what's really happening between Snowden and his hosts. The notion that Russia's hands are legally tied and that Snowden is just hanging out at the airport as a logistically challenged but ultimately free agent is absurd, but it's understandable why Russia is staging that diplomatic farce.
As for Snowden's role, if he has valuable knowledge and he has not "given up his principles" -- so much the worse for him. He'll get a chance to reconsider the boast that he "cannot be coerced into revealing that information, even under torture." It could have already happened, with the bit about resisting torture ghost-written by amused interrogators.
Snowden has been accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks. He is not alone and isolated with Russians.