Human Rorschach test Edward Snowden has left the Moscow airport transit zone where he’s lived since June 23, and is now in actual real Russia after being granted a temporary, one-year asylum. His Russian attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, says that Snowden accepted the Russian government’s condition that he will not release any further US secrets while living in Russia. Snowden will stay in an undisclosed location, Kucherena said, noting that Snowden is “the most wanted person on earth,” but adding that after he settles in, Snowden will eventually talk to the press, presumably about non-leaky things. Kucharena also asked reporters to stop pointing out that his name reminds them of that one dumb song from the ’90s.
In a completely unrelated human rights development, the Russian lawmaker who co-sponsored Russia’s terrible anti-gay law explained that gay athletes and tourists will be subject to arrest at the 2014 Winter Olympics, because the law is the law and you can’t just go making exceptions for high-profile visitors.
The International Olympic Committee had issued a statement last week saying that the Russian government assured them athletes and Olympics visitors would not be arrested, which apparently prompted the contradictory statement Wednesday from Vitaly Milonov, the author of the new ban on “gay propaganda” ban, who said:
I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law. And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.
If the law is enforced during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to HuffPo’s James Nichols, the Russian government would be able to “detain gay or ‘pro-gay’ foreigners up to 14 days before facing expulsion from the country.”
Milonov also said that he had “spoken with many American politicians” who told him that “they support the stance I’ve taken on this issue.” We’d love to know if there’s any overlap between those “American politicians” and those who, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, want to boycott the Sochi games because Russia’s hospitality to Snowden (not especially creative “strange bedfellows” joke goes here).
It is not yet clear whether Snowden intends to stay in Russia — his lawyer says he is considering it — or if he will continue to try to make it to Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador or Nicaragua.
Maybe this is just really trollish on our part, but we can’t help but wish that when Snowden makes himself available for a chat with the media, someone will ask him his opinion of teh gheys and his host country’s laws against them. But that would be mean of us, wouldn’t it? We really shouldn’t conflate entirely unrelated issues that way.