Now that Edward Snowden has left Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, a one-year asylum in hand, everyone's wondering about the details of Snowden's new life in Russia. Thanks to Julia Ioffe's interview with Snowden's Russian lawyer at The New Republic, we have the outlines of some of what probably lies ahead for Snowden, at least in the short term.
Noting that Snowden seemed initially stunned when the paperwork allowing him to leave the airport finally came through, attorney Anatoly Kucherena explained the whistleblower's reaction to the news: "Because he had been waiting for it for so long, he had been so worried," Kucherena said."He wouldn't believe it 'til he saw the documents. Then, of course, he was happy."
He Won't Have To Listen To Constant Flight Announcements
Snowden's stay in the Sheremetyevo transit hotel was full of interruptions, Kucherena explains —
"He had some of his own money," Kucherena explained to me. "But his father is coming [to Moscow] soon, his American lawyer lawyer is coming. He won't be left to face his fate alone." He added, "He has American friends here. So everything will be okay."
Snowden apparently paid for his stay at the airport hotel himself, exhausting his savings. So he'll need work. And hey, he already has some options.
He Might Work for Russia's Facebook Clone
According to Kucherena, Snowden won't be hurting for employment opportunities. "I have to say he's getting a lot of job offers coming in." One of those offers comes from the largest social network in the country, VKontakte:
Yeah, it looks like Facebook. But it's also a contentious site, and one that would place Snowden in some tension with the powers that be in his new home. Its founder Pavel Durov (pictured above) is in the midst of a Kremlin crackdown on his network, which is notoriously full of both pirated media and Russian opposition communications, making it a problem for Putin. but Durov isn't going down quickly. As TNR notes, Durov just won a major victory in Russia's courts today, after a judge ruled against charging the site under a new anti-piracy law.
They'll Be Watching Him
Unsurprisingly, Moscow will probably keep a close eye on its newest resident, along with plenty of American eyes on the ground, too. " Moscow is still crawling with American spooks," TNR explains:
Likely, though, Snowden will live in an apartment that is bugged to the hilt, as any of my American (and British) friends in Moscow can tell you. They'd also likely tell you about how the Russian security services will regularly pay visits your apartment, usually when you're not there, and leave overt "we were here" clues behind: missing rugs, opened emails, a ladder in the bedroom, a gun on your welcome mat. It may not be as excruciating as intercom announcements from a world now closed to you, but it's a close second, believe me.
As an American who knows the inner workings of the U.S.'s surveillance industry, living in Russia, it's almost certain that neither of the Cold War rivals will be able to leave him alone.
He Can Finally Marry Anna Chapman
OK. So Kucherena only mentioned "Russian girls" who were interested in meeting up with Snowden. But Snowden-Chapman shippers are no doubt ready to see this one through now that the whistleblower has left the airport, finally opening the door for the former spy and current Russian celebrity Chapman to marry the former NSA contractor and current Russian celebrity Snowden. There's even a proposal on the table:
Snowden, will you marry me?!— Anna (@ChapmanAnna) July 3, 2013
And some speculation on the pair's prospects already popping up. That's despite Snowden himself telling Kucherena that he still misses his girlfriend Lindsay Mills.