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Leonid Bershidsky

Snowden Is Turning Into a Liability for Putin

The NSA whistle-blower is speaking up about the repressive drift of the country that granted him asylum.
Time to move on?

Time to move on?

Photographer: Mathias Loevgreen Bojesen/AFP/Getty Images

Edward Snowden is increasingly unhappy with the situation in Russia, where he has lived for more than three years. President Vladimir Putin once welcomed the National Security Agency contractor for his propaganda value, but he may be wondering if it's all been worth it. 

Snowden arrived in Moscow in June 2013. That was almost a year before the Crimea annexation, and Russia could still try to sell itself to radical leftists who admired Snowden as the lesser evil, compared with the Big Brother U.S. Putin talked a lot about Snowden showing obvious delight for thumbing his nose at the U.S., which had tried to intercept the whistle-blower. He described Snowden as a "weird guy," an idealist, who was safe in Russia even though he had no secrets to pass on.