Edward Snowden can breathe a sigh of relief. Russia’s new tsar is granting the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor a three-year residency permit. But it’s unlikely he’ll be celebrating with balalaika and caviar in his forced exile in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is clearly using the supposed defector, tying Mr. Snowden’s fate to what could be considered a “war dividend” in the escalating East-West dispute over the conflict in Ukraine.
But Mr. Snowden is far from a traitor. He is an American patriot – perhaps the first global patriot – who believes in the self-purifying power of democracies. That’s why he “opened everybody’s eyes,” to echo Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words of praise. Indeed, it was Mr. Snowden who uncovered the massive American surveillance of millions of people around the world, including eavesdropping directly on the German chancellor herself.