Edward Snowden calls Russian government 'corrupt' as the country continues to provide safe haven from US arrest
Edward Snowden, who fled to Russia after releasing thousands of documents from the US National Security Agency, has suggested his current homeland's government is âcorrupt in many waysâ.
The ex-IT contractor and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worker, said the country's citizen's were warm and clever but he "strongly" disagreed with the policies of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
âI think the public feels disempowered. Russians are not naive, they know that state TV is unreliable. The Russian government is corrupt in many ways, thatâs something the Russian people realise," the 35-year-old told German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.
âRussian people are warm, they are clever. Itâs a beautiful country. Their government is the problem not the people.â
Mr Snowden was granted asylum in Russia after his flight from the US when he made public the NSA's widespread undeclared surveillance in 2013. He faces three charges under the Espionage Act in his homeland, each of which carry a minimum of 10 years in jail.
He has been granted permission to stay in Russia until 2020.
Asked by the Suddeutsche Zeitung whether his comments could put him in danger by angering Mr Putin, Mr Snowden said: âThereâs no question, itâs a risk. Maybe they donât care, right? Because I donât speak Russian.
âAnd I am literally a former CIA agent, so itâs very easy for them to discredit my political opinions as those of an American CIA agent in Russia.â
Last year Mr Putin said he believed Mr Snowden had been wrong to leak spy secrets, but was not a traitor â" a charge that had been levelled at him inside his own country.
âHe did not betray the interests of his country, nor did he transfer any information to any o ther country that would damage his own people,â the Russian president said.
In 2014, now-US president Donald Trump said Mr Snowden âwould have been executedâ in a past era âwhen our country was respected and strongâ.
Mr Trump and Mr Putin are due to meet in July in a third country.Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia