Within hours of being granted temporary asylum in Russia, Edward Snowden was offered a job at Russian social networking site VKontakte, reports Dara Kerr at CNET.
“We invite Edward to St. Petersburg and will be thrilled if he decides to join our stellar team of programmers at VKontakte,” VK founder Pavel Durov wrote in a post. “At the end of the day, there is no European Internet company more popular than VK. I think Edward might be interested in protecting the personal data of our millions of users.”
Snowden- former NSA contractor turned whistleblower
Snowden was a former NSA contractor turned whistleblower who has been a fugitive since disclosing information on highly controversial and legally questionable NSA spying programs. The NSA and US President Obama have claimed that the programs prevent terrorist attacks, but no specific details have been released. According to Snowden even low-level contractors have access to the personal information of nearly everyone in the US. It has since come out that the NSA has also spied on other governments including allies in Europe.
Snowden originally went to Hong Kong, but then fled to Moscow to avoid extradition. He has been granted permanent asylum in multiple South American countries, but has no realistic way to travel to them without being intercepted en route by US authorities. The distance between Moscow and South America is too far to have direct flights between the two, and there are no intermediary countries that are willing to guarantee Snowden’s freedom.
Still unclear whether Russia will allow Snowden to stay permanently
He has been in a Moscow airport for several weeks as the Russian government has expressed disinterest in the case, making no move to extend permanent asylum or to send Snowden to the US. It’s still unclear whether Russia will allow Snowden to stay permanently. Negotiations over his extradition have occurred in the context of severe disagreements between the US and Russia over the civil war in Syria, an issue that Russia takes far more seriously.
Since Putin is openly supporting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and the US is increasingly supporting rebel militias, finding common ground over Snowden will probably remain as a sideshow to larger international issues.