For the Global Thinker

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Snowden’s only safe choice may be to stay in Russia indefinitely

"Russia, on the other hand, would seem to get around all three of these problems. The country is not a liberal democracy, or at least not widely viewed as such, meaning Moscow would risk little international credibility by defying a U.S. extradition request. It’s big enough that it doesn’t need to worry too much about upsetting the United States, which it clearly doesn’t, and is economically mostly tied to neighboring European and Asian states anyway. But Russia is also geopolitically weak enough that, unlike in the Soviet era when it was a true global power that negotiated frequently with its rivals, Moscow doesn’t have lots of crucial ongoing deals with the Americans. The biggest ones, cooperation on terrorism and Syria, are mostly stalled anyway.

Maybe most important, though, is Russia’s long history of sheltering Western fugitives, unbroken even by the fall of the Soviet Union and complete transformation of the Russian government. Deposed heads of state, shunned by most of the world, get luxurious homes in the upscale town of Barvikha, a little Paris custom-built for high-profile exiles. British intelligence officials who were caught spying for the Soviets and fled there half a century ago are still under Moscow’s protection; George Blake, now 91 years old, is still living on a Soviet KGB officer’s pension, though neither the KGB nor the Soviet Union have existed in 20 years."


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