Edward Snowden’s shadowy life in Russia

The New York Times reports: On very rare occasions, almost always at night, Edward J. Snowden leaves his secret, guarded residence here, somewhere, in Russia. He is always under close protection. He spends his days learning the language and reading. He recently finished “Crime and Punishment.”

Accompanying him is Sarah Harrison, a British activist working with WikiLeaks. With far less attention, she appears to have found herself trapped in the same furtive limbo of temporary asylum that the Russian government granted Mr. Snowden three months ago: safe from prosecution, perhaps, but far from living freely, or at least openly.

Andrei Soldatov, a journalist who has written extensively about the security services, said that the F.S.B., the domestic successor to the Soviet-era intelligence service, clearly controlled the circumstances of Mr. Snowden’s life now, protecting him and also circumscribing his activities, even if not directly controlling him.

“He’s actually surrounded by these people,” said Mr. Soldatov, who, with Irina Borogan, wrote a history of the new Russian security services, “The New Nobility.”

Hints of his life nonetheless flitter in and out of the public eye. On Thursday, his lawyer, Anatoly G. Kucherena, said that Mr. Snowden had agreed to take a job with one of the country’s major Internet companies, beginning Friday. Mr. Kucherena would not disclose the company or any other details, and he declined to discuss Mr. Snowden’s life in exile “because the level of threat from the U.S. government structures is still very high,” he said in a telephone interview. [Continue reading…]

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