MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – Over half of Russians on the whole approve of what fugitive US former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden did, an opinion survey by the Levada Center pollster has shown.
Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking classified data about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, formally requested temporary asylum in Russia on July 16. Washington has repeatedly called on Moscow to reject Snowden’s request and send him back to the United States to stand trial on charges of espionage and theft.
According to the survey published Wednesday, 15 percent of respondents said they have a positive attitude toward Snowden’s leaking activities, whereas 36 percent said they were “rather positive” about it.
Fourteen percent said they were “rather negative” about what Snowden had done, while 3 percent totally disapproved of his actions. A total of 32 percent had not made up their minds.
Asked whether Russia should grant asylum to Snowden, 13 percent of respondents said it should, 30 percent said “probably,” 19 percent said “probably not,” whereas 10 percent were against it. Some 28 percent said they did not know.
The survey was conducted on July 18-22, 2013 among 1,601 urban and rural residents aged 18 and above in 130 cities, towns and villages across 45 Russian regions. The statistical margin of error did not exceed 3.4 percent.