I’ve been thinking about Edward Snowden lately.
As things continue to dangerously unravel in Ukraine, the eyes of the world are on the region waiting to see what either side will do and whether sanctions employed by the United States and the European Union have any effect on the broadening violence and Russia’s continued intervention.
It was on a backdrop of burgeoning revolution that a few weeks ago, Snowden chose to question the Russian President on his country’s intelligence operations with regards to its citizens. I wonder if he appreciates the irony of that moment because, as a woman once told her dog, he’s not in Kansas anymore.
On an annual ask-and-answer television program, Snowden asked Putin, “Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?” You can read the full story here.
I thought at the time about the faith that Edward Snowden has in his convictions and how that assurance is perhaps giving him some solace at this point in his life. I mean, he has to see what’s going on in the part of the world he currently calls home. I’m interested to know what he think’s of the Soviet president and whether he feels his continued refugee status is something to be rethought, under the circumstances. In short, does he ever think about coming home these days?
I also can’t help but wonder about the spontaneity of Snowden’s call and whether or not it was a move put forth by Russian intelligence. Snowden has denied any contact with the service since his exile in the former Soviet Union. But then if it wasn’t a pre-arranged question, my query becomes one about his personal safety.
Does he know what he’s gotten himself into? He’s in a place where it’s very easy to disappear into a gulag and never be heard from again; not to mention that his asylum is only good for a period of one year; after which, who knows where he’ll be forced to go or even if he’ll be allowed to leave.
I’m pretty sure that in America there’s a strong sense of, he’s made his bed now let him lie in it. Still, he’s a US citizen, albeit an expatriate and it behooves us to care what happens to him; if for no other reason than we don’t want him to become a pawn in the affairs of Ukraine. Besides which, there’s probably still a contingent that want him back to debrief him on what exactly he did disclose to the world.
The irony is that in leaving his place of birth, a nation built on the presumption of freedom and equality for all men, however tenuous those ideals may be, he’s settled in a nation where the availability of such liberties is questionable, at best. Current affairs show us that.
His welcoming entry into Russia served a purpose in that it allowed Putin to rub our noses in it. I’m thinking that the benefit of his being there still outweighs any harm done to Moscow by his exile. How long that benefit continues is anyone’s guess and that’s something he should surely be thinking about, under the circumstances.