U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden may ask for an extension of his refugee status in Russia and apply for citizenship at a later period, Kommersant wrote on Friday, referring to Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.
"He will make a decision shortly," Kucherena told the newspaper. In his words, Snowden has the right to extend his status each year up to his naturalization.
Kucherena also said his client had been studying Russian and reading a lot and his first wage - Snowden is allegedly employed with a Russian company - was spent on personal goods and food. The lawyer added he had been helping Snowden in "household affairs".
"He does not have much money so far, so I buy him certain things now and then with donations from sponsors. If Snowden had been really working for Russia as U.S. congressmen are suggesting, his living conditions would have been totally different," the lawyer remarked.
"Edward initially had no intention of staying in Russia; he was flying to Latin America. If he had landed, say, in Ecuador, the congressmen would have said he was working for Quito. They simply have to blacken his name and to distract attention from the crimes of U.S. security services," Kucherena told the newspaper.
Snowden called the accusations from the congressmen absurd in an interview with The New Yorker.
On February 1 it will have been six months since Snowden was granted refugee status in Russia, Kommersant said.