BRATISLAVA, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – The chairman of Russia’s lower house of parliament has likened fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden to the hero of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel.
“You know, I compare him [Snowden] to Cervantes’ hero, Don Quixote,” State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Wednesday in an interview with Slovak television during an official visit to Bratislava.
“He is very much like him in some way: also naïve to a certain degree, honorable and selfless,” Naryshkin said. “But unlike Don Quixote, who fought windmills, Snowden fights violations committed by the state machine,” he said.
“Can he be called a spy? He did not cooperate with the intelligence services of Slovakia, Russia, France or China. Was he fulfilling somebody’s task? No. He did that himself because of his views that the rights of millions of our planet’s citizens need to be protected," Naryshkin said.
He said Snowden had not disclosed to the public some secret information on the location of US military units, but told the public that the United States was spying on many of its and other countries’ nationals, “thus violating the basic human rights.”
Snowden, a former contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA), is wanted by the United States on espionage and other charges after he gave journalists classified documents detailing the NSA’s far-reaching electronic and telephone surveillance programs.
Snowden flew to Russia from Hong Kong on June 23 and was supposed to continue his way to Havana, but did not. He formally requested temporary asylum in Russia on July 16.
Washington repeatedly called on Moscow to reject his request and send him back to the United States to stand trial, but in vain. Snowden was granted the asylum in early August.