Edward Snowden wakes up to life in Russia

An image aired Friday by Russian broadcaster Vesti shows Edward Snowden (center) leaving Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport with lawyer Anatoly Kucherena (right) and WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, Aug. 1, 2013. Vesti.ru

(CBS News) Only about six weeks ago, the question was "where is Edward Snowden." Now, he's gone to ground again.

The former NSA contractor's whereabouts inside Russia are being kept secret, reports CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata, but his lawyer says he's in a secure location; a private home with American friends and -- when he's comfortable -- he may consider making an appearance to the media.

A new photo emerged on Russian media outlets Friday morning showing Snowden's surprise getaway the preceding day from Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, where he remained stuck for weeks following his June 23 arrival from Hong Kong.

Complete coverage: NSA surveillance exposed

Friday, he was getting his first taste of freedom -- or at least the sort of freedom afforded to a high-profile American fugitive in Russia. The year-long asylum he's been granted does not enable him to travel outside of Russia's borders.

His Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Snowden wants to build a new life in the country, to rent an apartment and find a job. Job offers are already rolling in. The head of Russia's own Facebook-like "VKontakte" website offered the secret spiller gainful employment just hours after he left the airport on Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin has said the former NSA contractor will only be welcome in Russia if he stops spilling secrets about the United States' spy operations.

In an interview on "Russia Today," Snowden's father praised president Putin for keeping his son safe.

"It's the honourable thing to do, and as not just a citizen of the United States, but a global citizen of this planet, an occupant of the Earth, I am so thankful for what they have done for my son," Lon Snowden told the network earlier this week.

But life in Russia will be a far cry from the comforts of Snowden's former home in Hawaii. Although Moscow is home to more billionaires than anywhere else in the world, low wages for average workers mean a lower standard of living.

Snowden may also struggle because he can't speak Russian.

James Nixey, of the London-based think tank Chatham House, says Snowden's options are limited.

"I can't imagine... that he will be in a suburban, Moscow ghetto. I think it's more likely that he will live a relatively comfortable, if not entirely free, life," Nixey tells CBS News, acknowledging that it won't be entirely free because people are going to be keeping tabs on him.

When President Putin first found out the Snowden issue had landed in his lap, he was dismissive, saying he would have preferred "not to deal with these issues; it's like shearing a baby pig: a lot of squealing, but not much wool."

Now, however, Snowden may have even more opportunity to squeal to Russian intelligence agents.

Comments

Follow Us

The Newsroom