18:33 GMT18 January 2021
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    MOSCOW, (Sputnik) - NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will file a request for Russian citizenship in the near future and is currently gathering documents for that purpose, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "He [Snowden] is gathering documents for receiving Russian citizenship, and we will file a request for naturalisation", Kucherena said.

    The lawyer added that the list of necessary papers is quite long and promised to notify the public once everything has been prepared. Kucherena also boasted about his client's knowledge of the Russian language, which is necessary to obtain citizenship.

    "Yes, of course, it is fine ... [he's] just quick on the uptake", the lawyer said.

    In 2013, Snowden initiated a major international scandal after he leaked classified US and UK intelligence information about extensive surveillance programmes to the newspapers The Washington Post and The Guardian.

    He was forced to leave the United States for Hong Kong and then Moscow where he spent some time in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport.

    Snowden was later granted a three-year Russian residency, which was made permanent in 2020.

    Tags:
    russian citizenship, Snowden
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