Sept 26 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, nine years after he exposed the scale of secret surveillance operations by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Snowden's name appeared without Kremlin comment in a Putin decree conferring citizenship on 72 foreign-born individuals.
Snowden later issued a message, essentially an updated version of a November 2020 tweet, saying he wanted his family to remain together and asking for privacy.
Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state media outlet RT and a vocal Putin supporter, wrote with dark humour on her Telegram channel.
"I am familiar with the fact that he has in some ways denounced his American citizenship.
Russia granted Snowden permanent residency rights in 2020, paving the way for him to obtain Russian citizenship.
Putin, a former Russian spy chief, said in 2017 that Snowden, who keeps a low profile while living in Russia, was wrong to leak U.S. secrets but was not a traitor. »